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Israel vs. Iran

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The secret understandings between Israel and the US


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Sixth Generation Air-to-Air Missile

Return of the Western Front fateful elections in Egypt

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Staged Attack

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Conference Season Dear Readers, The 2nd international conference on Air and Land Jointness in a Complex Environment will take place on May 21-24, 2012. The conference, initiated by the Artillery Association, is in cooperation with the IDF Artillery Corps, the Ground Forces HQ, the Israeli Air Force, and the IDF Computer Services Directorate. The conference will present a fascinating platform for senior IDF and industry officials, as well as leading defense officials from around the world who will present the latest innovations in the field of fire operation from the ground and from the air, as well as the command and control systems required for rapid closure of circles. Dozens of high-ranking guests have already assured their participation in the conference, and we invite you to participate as well. Two weeks later, on June 6, another fascinating conference will take place at Tel Aviv University on the subject of cyber warfare. This conference is initiated by the Yuval Ne’eman Workshop for Science, Technology & Security, and is in

cooperation with IsraelDefense. In addition, the 2012 Eurosatory International Exhibition will take place the second week of June. This is just a partial list of important conferences that will take place at the start of the summer. We will hold a number of conferences during the second half of 2012 that will touch upon military and technology issues. The conferences will deal with embedded combat systems, cyber, teleprocessing, and future technologies that will serve combat soldiers and unmanned vehicles at sea, on the ground, and in the air. (A full list of the conferences appears on page 85.) A competition will also take place for start-ups in the defense field during the second half of the year, and a televised IsraelDefense magazine is expected to go on air in several months. Parallel to these developments, our readership, in English and in Hebrew, has gradually expanded in Israel and abroad, and the websites in both languages continue to serve as a meeting place for an increasing number of loyal readers. The iPad edition of IsraelDefense in English has

also been a source of interest for thousands of readers. This significant momentum would not be possible without the positive feedback and assistance we receive from our many friends and associate organizations – both private and public. We thank all the many friends that have helped and encouraged us along the way. In parallel to the 8th issue of IsraelDefense, the 2nd issue of IsraelDefense Tech magazine is also being published in Hebrew. The connection between the fields that IsraelDefense and IsraelDefense Tech bridges is not coincidental; Israel’s defense industries and its security forces are at the forefront of technological fields and are a considerable measure of Israel’s defensive strength. Likewise, Israel’s defense market is a force of growth for many local high-tech companies. This synergy between the fields will be expressed in the upcoming conferences that we sponsor. Sincerely Yours, IsraelDefense Staff

Front Cover: The Gilboa series Snake Double-Barrel Rifle

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Editor-in-Chief: Amir Rapaport Managing Editor: Ronit Magen Magazine Coordinator: Moral Ackler Graphic Design: Assi Krispin Editor, English Edition: Sareena Denis Sub-Editors and Translations: Moshe Tlamim, Michael Kadichevski, Ariel Anbar Contributing Editor: Efraim Lapid Staff Members and Contributors: Asaf Agmon, Dani Asher, Haim Assa, Moriya Ben-Yosef, Eyal Boguslavsky, Ronen Cohen, Gil David, Arie Egozi, Ehud Eilam, Meir Elran, Yehudit Gisarol, Marina Golan, Shmuel Gordon, Yuval Halamish, Efraim Inbar, Tal Inbar, David Ivry, Arnon Katz, Yaakov Katz, Yossi Kaufman, Avigdor Klein, Ram Levi, Arie Mizrachi, Avi Mor, Yoram Peled, Shaul Shai, Danny Shalom, Zaki Shalom, Atai Shelach, Dany Shoham, Tomer Snir, Dov Tamari, Dudu Tzur, Ron Veisberg, Doron Weiss, Danny Yatom, Yaakov Zigdon, Guy Zuri Graphics Department Manager: Assi Krispin Graphics:Yael Rotem Photography: Meir Azulay, Yossi Ben Hanan, Ziv Koren, Ofer Zidon Webmaster: Gil Matos Publisher: Arrowmedia Israel Ltd. All Rights Reserved © Print: Hadfus Hahadash Ltd. CEO: Guy Keren VP: Meital Ben-Dov Product Manager: Eyal Boguslavsky, E: Sales: Itay Gabay,, Dekel Zered, E:dekel@israeldefense.coil Projects: Avi Yariv E:, Udi Friedman E:, Customer Service: Eran Zilberman E: Subscriptions: W: E: T: 972-74-7031211 IsraelDefense Office Address: 9 Hamovil Street, 2nd Floor, P.O Box: 7107 Zip Code: 44424, Kfar-Saba, Israel

MAY 2012


co n te n ts

Sixth Generation Air-to-Air Missile

Features 14 Chances of an Attack Understandings between the US and Israel Amir Rapaport

22 The Iranian Perspective Will the Iranian response be a (multi) year-long war? Colonel (Res.) Ronen Cohen

26 Sixth Generation Air-to-Air Missile Special Interview with Chairman of the Board of Raphael, Ilan Biran


Arie Egozi

32 Ships, Missiles, ROVs The Head of Armament for the Israeli Navy reveals new developments 36 Maneuverability Is Key The Head of the Ground Forces talks preparations for the next conflict – a special interview for the upcoming Fire Conference 40 The IDF’s Fire Canopy Quickly closing sensor-to-shooter cycles Moriya Ben-Yosef

66 Cyber Supplement The day of the Attack: Simulation for the International Cyber Conference 76 Light Weapons and Tactics Supplement Amos Golan’s new double-barreled assault rifle 88 The First Lebanon War, Like You Have Never Seen Before Photographs from the war exposed 30 years later Photography: Yossi Ben Hanan


44 Defense Business 50 Land 56 Air & Space 58 Naval 60 HLS 62 Intelligence 66 Cyber 76 Light Weapons and Tactics 98 Books


Columns 08 Avigdor Klein 10 Arie Mizrachi 12 Amir Rapaport 96 David Ivry, Asaf Agmon, Doron Weiss


MAY 2012


May - June 2012, Issue No. 8





A Strong And Short Maneuver Is The Goal 36

MAY 2012




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Under the surface

Meir Azulay Meir Azulay is a senior photojournalist, formerly of the Hebrew-language dailies Yedioth Ahronoth and Ma’ariv, whose photos have captured many of the most dramatic moments in Israel’s history

“There’s a police unit in the south, whose main task is to foil the smuggling of drugs from the Jordanian border, working day and night in ambushes in the hot and cold desert, traveling by foot and positioning themselves, lying for hours without movement. They’re concealed so well that you could pass by just a meter away and fail to notice them. They’ve caught hundreds of kilograms of smuggled drugs, show limitless dedication, and put their lives on the line everyday. Mostly unknown, they came to the police primarily from combat and special units...a different police.”

MAY 2012


Special articles

GROUND FORCE BUILDUP: ASPECTS, MISGIVINGS, AND CLARIFICATIONS “. . . bring forth the old because of the new” (Leviticus 16:10) By Brigadier General (Ret.) Avigdor Klein

 Kfir Brigade fighters during an exercise


fter examining the failures in the IDF’s recent military operations, it is clear that changes are necessary in ground force buildup. These changes, which will likely be responsive and in line with present military trends, will no doubt be the subject of criticism regarding how the army prepares for its future engagements. In the 1990s, the US Army attempted to restructure ground buildup so that operating forces could adapt the battlefield to their needs. The project was a revolutionary concept called “Force XXI.” It was the first force redesign effort in which a full array of computerized, state-of-the-art, virtual simulation methods, equipment, and software were involved in field exercises intended to test and analyze new military unit designs. It was also the first time that fighting units received a real-time, comprehensive picture of the near and distant events unfolding on the battlefield in which they were involved. The idea was to engage the enemy and render him incapable of exploiting vulnerabilities. Since then, vast resources have been spent in correcting concepts such as Force XXI, which have grown increasingly ir-


MAY 2012

Photo: IDF Spokesperson

relevant. The main reasons for their irrelevancy are the enemy’s flexibility and superb creativity in altering his appearance and blending into the environment. The only way the enemy can counter the technological superiority of Western armies is by turning their strength into a vulnerability and teaching Western forces a lesson when it comes to warfare that is not fought “by the rules.” Today, the simple, the non-systemic, and the vague constitute tactical force multipliers that leave Western forces mired in long and costly campaigns – ones where victory is increasingly perceived as beyond their reach. In recent decades, the attention of most military force planners has been responsive, focusing on new military equipment far removed from the actual needs of multi-scenario fighting. Given this, and with regards to the issue of combat fire support, I take issue with many traditional views. The disappointing performance of fire support during the Second Lebanon War led me to conduct research in order to characterize the ground forces’ new requirements, in light of the changes in warfare over the past decade. I found a number of variables that could assist ground force buildup planners as

they deal with this component. First, the IDF will continue to require operational maneuverability as long as it faces regular armies. This may be in the form of traditional combat, at least in the first stages of the fighting; distributed combat in other arenas; or counter-organization combat waged against hidden infrastructures and an elusive enemy. Budgetary constraints and the scope of the necessary firepower impede unique and selective replenishment in numerous combat situations. Because of this, our thinking must be aimed at other solutions. An analysis reveals that drastic battlefield changes have occurred in recent conflicts. Fire support must be immediate and precise (selective fire towards point targets, with minimum collateral damage), long ranged (to minimize movement in danger zones), and with diverse capabilities (to take down structures and for lethality). These needs stem from the enemy’s elusive nature, his brief period of exposure, and his penchant for operating in civilian environments. Naturally, such elements have always been an integral part of conflicts. The main difference is that today’s conflicts have become lengthy confrontations spanning months and years, in which the concept of victory has changed. This has led to a reduction in the use of combat layouts (air and ground forces, for example) due to exorbitant operating costs. Even if inter- and intra-branch cooperation were excellent, it would still not solve the problem of highmaintenance layouts. Furthermore, the blurring of geographical borders has altered the nature of combat from linear to spatial on all levels. Even the use of efficient and well-integrated fighting methods makes it difficult, if not impossible, to provide fire support to tactical teams. This reality results in operational demands for weapons development and replenishment that include new weapons and innovative developments. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, those responsible for ground force buildup still need to consider the new weapon’s contribution to the overall layout and special needs of ground combat, especially when using it as a primary combat weapon. I found that the IDF’s current fire capabilities are not fully utilized. Therefore, it is likely that the implications stemming from their utilization were not analyzed in full by those responsible for force buildup. Three directions need to be examined before deciding on weapons replenishment. The first is tactical connectivity that is capable of utilizing all organic and assisting fire resources and measures across all levels in the combat expanse, and linking those capabilities to the various elements in the expanse in order to meet the assisted party’s requirements. The IDF’s Digital Army Program (DAP) or its battle management systems are insufficient towards fulfilling this purpose. Second, fire support (such as 120 mm Keshet recoil mortars) must be immediately available at the battalion level, and perhaps lower. Lastly, cost effectiveness must be maintained given the dilemma over upgrading existing systems or replenishing them with new ones. In any case, the professionals entrusted with each of these fields

should inquire about whether we have achieved maximum operational capability. I know from where I stand that the answer is not always “yes,” and certainly not in the field of fire systems. Three assumptions can lead to a Force XXI error if taken for granted. The first relates to replacing the self-propelled artillery layout (155 mm M-109s) due to obsolescence. Citing obsolescence as the reason for replenishment is one of the most egregious engineering errors that commanders make. The “obsolescence” of the IDF’s AFVs and self-propelled cannons, which travel less than 5,500 miles throughout their lifespan, simply cannot be compared with the same vehicle in other armies, where the greater mechanical stress is expressed in periodic test drives in the motorpool. The second error relates to the price tag of a new weapon, which, as I see it, is just the tip of the iceberg. Interestingly, the lifespan of new weapons is usually much shorter than existing ones. Therefore, the cost of maintenance, establishment of an instructional layout, absorption, training, and especially the cost and time of converting and scrapping of old systems are all major factors in force buildup. The third error relates to technological solutions more than to ammunition and warheads. There has been an exaggerated trend in recent years to recommend the acquisition of improved capabilities in launch weapons as a solution to the issue of performance precision. Somewhere along the line, the possibility of improving ammunition as an answer to operational needs (with tanks and especially with artillery) has been forgotten. I realize that the tendency to seek new weapon systems as solutions is tempting and is presently carried out with an ease that exceeds necessity or expectations. I suspect that it is primarily done at the persuasion of the defense industries and following breakthroughs in technology. The described process might free military planners from the necessity of conducting a thorough study for a cost-effective, systemic solution. However, it is difficult for many to accept the reality that investment in the current layout, even if it supplies only 80% of the needs, is preferable to a new one that answers 100% of the needs. I would be cautious when choosing hardto-reach goals, and would instead concentrate all our resources on attainable goals, at least at this stage. 

 A Merkava tank during an exercise

Photo: IDF Spokesperson

MAY 2012


Special articles

FEWER HEADQUARTERS, GREATER STRENGTH Thirty years after the artillery revolution in the First Lebanon War, Brigadier General (Ret.) Arie Mizrachi urges the IDF to reduce its headquarters and invest in force buildup. By Yaakov Zigdon

 Self-propelled howitzer in Beirut, 1982


Photo: AP

rior to the Yom Kippur War, the IDF’s entire artillery layout consisted of twenty-five battalions composed of antiquated towed cannons and captured Russian-made guns. The artillery corps was neglected to the point of disparagement. The late Major General Israel Tal, deputy chief of staff at the time, once said: “I have a tank brigade with a hundred and twenty 105 mm guns; I don’t need another twelve 155 mm artillery barrels.” Fortunately for the IDF, artillery officers that were exceptionally skilled in math and trigonometry elevated the corps to a high level of proficiency and precision. Long and exhaustive training combined with rigorous screening produced a bold, aggressive, and innovative leadership. Despite inferior weapons, artillery commanders were able to lay down accurate fire concentrations that decided pivotal engagements in the Yom Kippur War, such as the Suez Canal crossing and the Valley of Tears battle in the Golan Heights. Following the Yom Kippur War, the defense establishment applied the lessons it learned and introduced widespread changes. It quickly replenished the artillery corps with new weapons systems, smart bombs, battlefield computers, complex spotting and measuring systems, advanced combat radios, and laser rangefinders. The 25 obsolete artillery battalions in the Yom Kippur War gave way to 87 modern artillery battalions by 1982. The growth was not only in quantity, but more significantly, in the quality of the manpower operating the sophisticated equipment that integrated computerized firing systems, spotting devices, target acquisition capabilities, and smart shells. This remarkable expansion of the corps was supported by the instructional and training layout at the Shivta Field Artillery School. One example of this transformation can be seen in the changes from 1973 with the Yom Kippur War – when the corps possessed only one battalion of M109 155 mm self-propelled how-


MAY 2012

 Armored forces in the First Lebanon War

Photo: AP

itzers – to 1982 in the First Lebanon War. Between the wars, the corps increased their array to 450 armored fighting vehicles. What is most amazing about this transformation is that during this period of unprecedented buildup, the chief artillery officer’s headquarters remained the same – no new buildings were added and manpower remained at the same level, even as the corps doubled and tripled in size. When the First Lebanon War erupted, field artillery was ready to spring into action. The combination of new fire application methods, strategy, tactics, combat doctrines, rigorous simulator training, and live-fire exercises transformed the corps into the surprise element needed to win the war. The IDF deployed 32 battalions in Lebanon and 18 in the Golan Heights. Artillery participated in all the major battles, including the landing near the Awali River in Lebanon. They also participated in the rescue of a tank battalion in the Battle of Sultan Yacoub – the site of one of the bloodiest encounters in the war, where dozens of artillery battalions laid down concentrated fire against the Syrian Army. Ultimately, the corps’ intensive use of direct fire saved the ground forces from urban warfare in Beirut and determined the Artillery Corps’ status as a deciding factor on the battlefield. Its success in the First Lebanon War demonstrated that investment in equipment, instruction, and training produced optimal results. The cost-benefit ratio was at a maximum, without the addition of an unnecessary headquarters. The new battalions and artillery groups were full-fledged combat units, and even the Field Artillery School was organized as a fighting group and participated in the war. A perfect operational balance was maintained between armory, infantry, engineers, and artillery ground firepower long before the IDF’s Ground Arm Headquarters was established. This is a valid lesson from the past that still holds true today. 

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The Waiting Period


Six days: On May 22, 1967, the Ministerial Committee on National Security Affairs decided that Egypt’s closure of the Straits of Tiran – the narrow maritime passage from the Gulf of Aqaba to the Red Sea – constituted an act of aggression against Israel. At the time, US President Lyndon B. Johnson requested that Israel grant him more time to apply diplomacy to lift the blockade on the straits. Some of the ministers, including Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, favored the diplomatic track, which meant postponing a retaliatory attack. On May 28, Foreign Minister Abba Eban returned from Washington to report that Johnson asked Israel not to initiate military action so that he could settle the crisis in the UN Security Council. A week after Johnson’s request, the Israeli Air Force launched Operation Moked – the opening round in the SixDay War. Consecutive waves of Israeli air strikes destroyed the air forces of the Arab armies before they could even get off the ground. Today, Iran has replaced Egypt as the existential menace, and Israel is once again waiting as it did forty-five years ago, uncertain of whether the tension will subside or escalate into a preemptive strike against Iran.


Six months: In all likelihood, the 2012 waiting period will last six months, or at least until the US presidential elections in November. However they are viewed, the elections will likely be the most decisive in Israel’s history, even more so than national elections in


MAY 2012

Israel. Since Israel is unlikely to launch an attack before November, what happens afterwards depends on the understandings between Israel and the US. As Israel and the US deliberate over attacking Iran, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak make frequent visits to Washington. This spring, Barak met with US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and the heads of the defense and intelligence establishments several times. Even without recourse to an active imagination, one can guess that Iran was the prominent subject during these talks.


Decisive elections: The presidential elections in Egypt scheduled for late May 2012 can also be considered one of the most crucial in Israel’s history. On the agenda for more than a year, these elections – Egypt’s second in its history – will not likely bode well for Israel. With the Muslim Brotherhood joining the mix of candidates, the chances of a Brotherhood victory cannot be underestimated. Those who disparaged the chances of the Hamas movement beating Fatah in the 2007 Gaza Strip elections have been stuck with Hamas in power ever since. Israel will be confronted with strategic changes on its southwestern border. Whatever the outcome of Egypt’s elections, the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty of 1979 can no longer be taken for granted, and terrorist attacks originating from Sinai in recent months may be minor incidents compared to more dangerous scenarios in the future. The IDF drastically reduced its forces

‫ ‏‬ Egypt, before the elections

on the southern front after the peace treaty was signed thirty years ago. Now it must prepare for the possibility of a war in the south against a neighbor armed with US weapons. While this scenario is still far-fetched, events in the Middle East in the past two years have exceeded even the wildest of imaginations, and historical processes once measured in years and months now take place in weeks and even days.


Halamish: The increased likelihood of war with Iran, the fragile situation in the south, the possible collapse of Assad’s regime in Syria, and war with Hamas in Gaza or Hezbollah in Lebanon are all scenarios that cannot be considered of “low probability” in the second half of 2012. Previous issues of IsraelDefense have described the discussions in the General Staff regarding Halamish – the IDF’s multi-year replenishment program for 2012-2016. The plan was supposed to take into account the dramatic changes in the Middle East, but discussions were halted due to non-security reasons: mass demonstrations of thousands of Israelis demanding social justice. In the wake of the unprecedented public outcry, the prime minister postponed

Photo: IDF Spokesperson Photo: AP

‫ ‏‬ IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz with the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey

Halamish for a year. Instead of inaugurating a new plan, it was decided that 2012 would be a “singular year,” and its budget would not come from any multi-year program. As the summer of 2012 approaches, the time is ripe for renewed discussion in the General Staff for Halamish. While issues relating to force buildup are discussed behind closed doors, the defense establishment and the political echelon are once again raising

the specter of taking calculated risks in light of security threats. The IDF is accustomed to building its forces based on a reference scenario, rather than a worst-case scenario, in which all fronts erupt simultaneously. Will this modus operandi prove to be a fatal mistake?


Much less: Israel’s ability to procure the latest weapons systems would be much more limited were it not for the

‫ ‏‬ Khairat Al-Shatr, Muslim Brotherhood candidate for Egypt’s presidential elections

Photo: AP

enormous volume of defense exports. While the final figures have yet to be published, indications show a decline of almost 20% compared to 2010. Cutbacks in Western defense budgets have been detrimental for Israel’s industries. Nevertheless, Israel’s defense exports are currently three times higher than those from a decade ago (close to $7 billion in 2011). The defense industries’ order backlog is nothing but amazing: Israel Aerospace Industries has a backlog of over $10 billion; Elbit Systems has a backlog of $5.5 billion; and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has a backlog of $2 billion. At this rate, the current level of success will continue for another two to three years, with this year’s sales affecting the defense industries’ performance for 2014 and 2015. The question of whether the defense industries will have to cut back on output brings to mind a high school calculus conundrum: if the rate of sales over the next two years is lower than the rate of catching up with the order backlog, then Israel’s defense industries will have to lay off personnel; if sales remain at the current level, the industries will be able to maintain their current status. 

MAY 2012


An Israeli Assault on Iran


Following a study on US-Israel understandings regarding Iran, the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) says that the chances the US will attack Iran's nuclear program are high. What exactly do these understandings say about Israel's alleged nuclear capability, and what did US President Barack Obama mean when he declared, "Israel has the right to defend itself, by itself?" By Amir Rapaport 14

MAY 2012


he Iranian nuclear project is one of the main issues in the strategic dialogue between Jerusalem and Washington, which, according to US Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, has become "more coordinated than ever." This dialogue, which began in the early 1990s, focuses on intelligence and political affairs. In the field of intelligence, senior members of Israel's security branches (the IDF, Directorate of Military Intelligence, and Mossad) meet regularly with their US counterparts for exchanges and updates. Diplomats, military personnel, intelligence officers, and

foreign affairs specialists attend the quarterly Joint Politico-Military Forum (JPMG) to share ideas on various aspects of Iran's nuclear program. These types of strategic forums help to tighten intelligence cooperation and establish a base for joint policy. At the political level, the talks seem to be aimed at hammering out a strategic response in accordance with the parties' intentions and capabilities. This dialogue, which takes place at the highest level of leadership between senior advisors, allegedly discusses the possibility of attacking Iran's nuclear sites and determines the red lines that could trigger a military operation.

Timetable for the Iranian bomb US and Israeli intelligence services nearly agree on the timetable for an Iranian bomb. According to the Israeli estimate, Iran is one year away from a bomb, and according to US estimates, Iran is a year and a half away from producing the necessary material for a nuclear warhead. The global debate over Iran revolves around the question of when to intervene. Israel believes that Iran intends to produce up to 250 kg of 20% enriched

MAY 2012


uranium – the amount needed for one bomb. The Islamic regime currently has 120 kg of 20% enriched uranium. The shift from 20% enrichment to the 90% level required to produce a bomb is only a matter of time, not of knowledge and technology. The rate of enrichment at the 20% level is 10-20 kg a month. With Iran's ten thousand centrifuges, only two to three months are necessary to upgrade the enrichment level to 90%. According to assessments regarding Iran’s strategy, the Iranians could produce enough 20% enriched uranium for one or more bombs, halt production, and become a “threshold state” on the verge of military nuclear capability. The short transition to upgraded (90% enriched) uranium could be made whenever it suits them – secretly and rapidly – to stymie efforts at thwarting their nuclear program. The Israeli position, as its leaders have stated, is that Iran must be stopped before it reaches the threshold level, since afterwards, it will only take a few weeks to produce a bomb. An additional reason is that Iran could conceal the accelerated upgrading to 90% from UN monitors. The US holds the position that their military capabilities (including strategic bombers and deadly bombs) are more powerful than Israel's. They say that even if Iran reaches threshold status, Israel can trust the US to intercede. Obama explicitly stated this in his March 2012 speech when he said, "You can trust us. We're committed to preventing the Iranians from crossing the threshold and producing a bomb." But can Israel rely on the US? In short, this is the dilemma facing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Minister of Defense Ehud Barak, Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya'alon, and the rest of Israel's Political-Security Cabinet. These are the people that will ultimately decide whether to attack Iran.

Options regarding a nuclear Iran The US-Israeli discourse has given birth to diverse opinions on the nuclear issue that could affect relations between Jerusalem and Washington. A political simulation


MAY 2012

 An IDF combat fighter

game (Iran: A Strategic Simulation) held at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv in January 2012 found that an independent Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities would damage Israel's relations with the US. Given this potential response, it is important to understand the leeway for response present in the dialogue between both countries. This is where the following initiatory response possibilities may be pointed out: Diplomacy and Sanctions: The EU's decision to cut off oil trade with Iran is a powerful expression of US policy. A key factor in the Iranian economy, oil sanctions could effectively pressure Tehran to abandon its nuclear plans. However, the problem with such a move is that it demands a broad multi-national consensus that the US – the leader of anti-Iranian policy – could find hard to muster. China and Russia, who are permanent members of the UN Security Council, oppose the crippling sanctions against Iran. Moreover, the European Union agreed to comply with US-led sanctions only after considerable hesitation and dissension. The difficulty in defining and agreeing on tough sanctions causes Israel to regard this move with suspicion and apprehension. Minister of Defense Ehud Barak de-

clared, "If the sanctions fail to halt Iran's nuclear program, action will have to be taken." Semi-Military Move: The US decision to dispatch an aircraft carrier to the Strait of Hormuz, despite Iran’s threat to blockade the strait if sanctions are enforced, is an example of a semi-military response. This move is designed to reinforce US policy that holds that the closure of the strait is crossing a red line that Washington will not tolerate. The use of military power as a deterrent is effective in that it also strengthens the deterring force's credibility. The downside of such a step is that the situation could deteriorate and develop into a military confrontation that the US wants to avoid. If Washington backed down, its threats would prove to be merely the roar of a paper tiger. Thus, Iran's policy of brinkmanship, such as deploying naval vessels or even firing on US or Western forces, could weaken Washington's credibility regarding its intention to guarantee freedom of passage through the strait.

A military attack: Israel's position, the US's position The big question is whether Israel will attack Iran. The simulation research ex-

Photo: Captain O

 US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

amined this issue from various angles (Israel's capabilities, flight paths, chances of success, etc.) and drew the conclusion that such an operation would run counter to US policy, and if realized, would have a devastating impact on countries involved. At the same time, senior US officials, such as Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, believe that Israel will attack Iran's nuclear installations in 2012. While these officials are quick to point out that this is their personal assessment, their opinion nevertheless strengthens the credibility of Israel’s threat. Announcing Israel's intentions to bomb Iran could exert pressure on the international community to implement a more rigorous policy against Iran. In other words, the community's interest in averting a military action could mobilize joint international action to enforce harsher sanctions that might postpone, or even cancel, an unwanted Israeli move. US recognition of Israel's intentions proves that the threat is a key element in the dialogue between the two countries. However, there is a gap between American and Israeli perspectives concerning the use of force for attaining common political goals, along with Israel's implementation of this threat. In view of all the ramifications and variables, how would a military attack impact US interests in the Middle

East, Israel's security interests, and bilateral relations? Indeed, this is a very complex, multifaceted issue. It may be assumed that most of the statements emanating from the two parties are closely coordinated, but the statements also reflect a basic discrepancy. This is at least, how they appear.

The options and likelihood of realization If the sanctions and a semi-military move prove futile, the question of whether or not to carry out a military strike will rise to the top of the agenda. According to most Western assessments, a military operation will not destroy Iran's nuclear program – it will only delay it. In the best-case scenario, if the attack is executed perfectly, Iran’s program will be set back no more than five years. However, considering that its nuclear facilities are dispersed throughout the country (1,648,000 square km), most analysts believe that a military attack would postpone Iran's attainment of nuclear capability by two to three years at most, and even this is uncertain. The targets of the attack would include the enrichment facilities, the production sites of the detonators that trigger the

Photo: AP

nuclear chain reaction, and surface-tosurface missiles that deliver the bombs or warheads. According to foreign reports, a number of attacks (mysterious explosions around the country) were carried out between 2008 and 2012 against targets linked to Iran's nuclear project. Several Iranian nuclear scientists were assassinated in operations attributed to Western intelligence agencies and the Mossad. There was also the case of an anonymous cyber-attack by the Stuxnet worm (allegedly produced by Israel) which caused heavy damage to Iran's centrifuges, which have since been repaired. What options do Israel and the West have in the spring of 2012 as Iran approaches the nuclear threshold? 1. Israel could execute a military attack without informing the US. Reasons in favor: According to assessments in foreign publications, Israel has the capabilities (air and ground weapons, an elite air force, air refueling, long-range communications, and real-time intelligence gathering) to hit key targets in Iran. Israel also has the reputation of a country that boldly assumes responsibility for its own fate in matters of survival, as it did in the bombing of the Osirak reactor in Iraq in 1981. In addition, Netanyahu and Barak are

MAY 2012


Photo: AP The US carrier Lincoln

It may be assumed that most of the statements between the US and Israel are closely coordinated. However, they also reflect a basic discrepancy. At least this is how they appear believed to be preparing Israel for an attack and have the clout to get the Political-Security Cabinet to approve. Reasons against: An attack will cause only limited damage and incur heavy retaliation from Iran and its allies, including Hezbollah in Lebanon. If the attack is implemented without American consent, and US forces in the Persian Gulf are targeted by Iran, then US-Israel relations could be severely damaged. Likelihood of this scenario: medium to high. 2. Israel attacks Iran only after informing and coordinating with the US. Reasons in favor: Israel prefers to coordinate every operation with the US in order to preserve its strategic relationship. Reasons against: Full coordination will make the US an accomplice, and it is un-

 An IDF combat fighter Photo: Captain O


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likely that the US wants this responsibility. Likelihood of this scenario: low. 3. Israel foregoes an attack and accepts the fact that Iran possesses a bomb. Reasons in favor: For decades, the US and Russia waged a cold war. Israel is aware of its military limitations and fears a strategic reversal in its relationship with the US. Therefore, Israel could eventually decide to accept the notion of a nuclear Iran and forego an attack, even while knowing that the US will not attack in its place. Reasons against: Theoretically, mutual deterrence doesn’t hold in Iran’s case given the regime's messianic ideology. From Israel's point of view, a situation in which Iran unabashedly proclaims its intention to destroy Israel, and at the same time

 Shahab missile test launch

Photo: AP

possesses a nuclear warhead, is as bad as the price Israel would incur by attacking. An Iranian bomb will immediately limit Israel's ability to retaliate against parties linked to Iran, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. Likelihood of this scenario: medium. 4. The demilitarization of the Middle East, including Israel. Reasons in favor: A scenario in which Israel agrees to be supervised by international forces in exchange for Iran relinquishing its nuclear project could neutralize the Iranian nuclear threat without needing to pay a high price. Reasons against: It is unrealistic to expect that Israel and Iran would place their trust in bilateral demilitarization or that Israel would reverse its policy of nuclear ambiguity. Likelihood of the scenario: low 5. A US attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. Reasons in favor: The US is interested in stopping a nuclear bomb that threatens its allies, including Israel and countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait (the world's leading oil suppliers). An Iranian bomb will motivate other Arab countries to attain nuclear capability. In addition, Minister of Strategic Affairs, Moshe Ya'alon, revealed that Iran is striving to obtain missiles

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Photo: AP Iranian President Ahmadinejad at a nuclear facility near Tehran

with ranges of 10,000 km that could reach the US. The US has demonstrated that when its security and political interests are threatened, it doesn't hesitate to engage militarily anywhere in the world. Therefore, if

sanctions against the regime prove ineffective, the US might declare war on Iran or carry out a strategic attack. Reasons against: In 2012, the US is in the midst of a campaign in Afghanistan and still nursing its wounds from the war in

Iraq. America's economic weakness and domestic politics (2012 is an election year, and several months will pass afterwards until a new administration settles in) could prevent an attack on Iran. Likelihood of such a scenario: high.

"Israel Has The Right To Defend Itself, By Itself" What did US President Barack Obama mean in a meeting with Netanyahu in early March 2012 when he said, "Israel has the right to defend itself, by itself"? How does this correlate with the decades-long understandings between the US and Israel regarding Israel's policy of nuclear ambiguity? BESA’s detailed study presents the development of the understandings starting in the 1950s, and points out that the Obama Administration has significantly reinforced the US’s commitment to Israel's strategic superiority – at least on the declarative level. This is despite the fact that Obama's tenure began with deep apprehension that the understandings, first formulated in writing during the Clinton Administration in 1998, would be harmed. Obama announced at the outset of his presidency that he was committed to global nuclear disarmament. However, he was aware of the fact that an attempt to reexamine the understandings with Israel would detract from Israel's deterrence against Iran and its proxies. Moreover, it might even enable Tehran to pursue its nuclear ambitions more easily.


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Obama's commitment to the understandings was proven inter alia in his speech in the UN General Assembly in September 2009 when he spoke of dismantling nuclear weapons and strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. He indirectly warned Iran and North Korea of the consequences of their nuclear aspirations, but did not raise any political ideas such as Dimona for Natanz to thwart Tehran's nuclear aspirations. In May 2010, the US initiated a conference for the demilitarization of the Middle East of WMDs (scheduled to take place in Finland near the end of 2012). However, due to intensive activity by the former Head of Israel's National Security Council, Uzi Arad, vis-à-vis his US counterpart, James L. Jones, the understandings that "Israel has the right to defend itself, by itself" were ratified and rephrased in even greater detail. Thus, the words chosen by Obama in his March meeting with Netanyahu should not be viewed as coincidental. Ultimately, Obama has demonstrated determination in preserving US-Israel understandings and has personally guaranteed this to Netanyahu.


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MAY 2012


An Israeli-Iranian War:

The Iranian Perspective By Colonel (Res.) Ronen Cohen

What are Tehran's goals in a confrontation with Israel? Why have the Iranians been prepared to fight for so many years? A special analysis by Colonel (Res.) Ronen Cohen 22

MAY 2012

The IDF is ready to move against Iran the minute it receives the green light," declared IDF Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz in an interview broadcast on Israel's 64th Independence Day. "The Iranians are determined to build a nuclear weapon while they continue to dupe the international community," Minister of Defense Ehud Barak added the following day. Israel's leaders face a series of existential questions: should Israel attack Iran or pursue the diplomatic track? When, if ever, is the right time to launch an at-

tack? How should it be executed? How will Iran's leaders react to an attack on their nuclear facilities?

The day after The most likely day-after scenario, as the international media sees it, is a devastating Iranian response based mainly, though not entirely, on its long-range missile arsenal. This attack would be coupled with terrorist strikes against Jewish and Israeli targets abroad, and backed by Hezbollah – Iran’s proxy in Lebanon. On the international front, Iran could

Photo: AP Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

wreak havoc on the global economy through fluctuations in oil prices, even though this could also ultimately harm Iran (it is unclear whether Iran or the West would suffer more in an oil war). Iran could respond with a four-way campaign with long-ranged counter-fire against Israel, terror activity on Israel's borders, attacks on Israelis and Jews overseas, and a limited conflict in the north of Israel. Israel is fully aware of the implications of the day after, but senior political-security figures have increasingly alleged that Iran's response capabilities are limited due to international constraints and its distance

from Israel. From our perspective, Israel could withstand an Iranian retaliation, just as it has withstood missile attacks in the past. In his Independence Day speech, the chief of staff threw the proverbial ball into the political decision-makers' court, taking careful aim at the prime minister and minister of defense. The question is whether Israel is up to the challenge of a day-after scenario that is different from the one the media projects. If Israel initiates a military strike and Iran responds, Israel will face a security challenge of a magnitude that it has never

experienced. It will be the first time in history that Israel faces a non-Arab state with an entirely different culture, mentality, and historical legacy. The same is true for the Iranians – for the first time they will be confronting Israel and the West. Furthermore, Israel has never carried out a military attack against a state on the brink of nuclear capability. An attack against Iran would be far different than the bombing of the nuclear reactor in Iraq or the air strike against the reactor in Syria (attributed to Israel). For Israel, the element of surprise is already gone, which in effect, has already enabled the enemy to carry

MAY 2012


Photo: AP Iranian Revolutionary Guard fighters

out a series of steps. These steps range from instilling a state of awareness into their nation, political-strategic maneuvering, and preparations for both an offensive and defensive military response.

Presenting a regional objective When we examine the rationale behind an Iranian response, we should assume that the regime in Tehran will make every effort to cause the "Zionist entity" such severe damage that it would restore the Islamic Republic to the lofty position of a regional superpower. Iran's choice of targets and its method of attack will be a regional and international display of Iranian strategy and military might. Iran cannot allow the campaign to end with it appearing ruined and humiliated. Another Iranian goal will be to safeguard its nuclear project so that it can quickly resume operations if damaged. An Iranian strike would probably be directed against Israel's population centers, since the Iranians believe that Israel would be hard-pressed to cope with a protracted campaign of attrition that weakens the home front. Upon examining these goals against the scenario established by the media, we can see that the scenario the media portrays would not attain Iran’s objectives. What


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then is the modus operandi that Iran will choose to meet its goals?

A different kind of society To understand how the Iranian leadership operates, we must go back to the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War. Despite the extreme differences between that war and a possible Israeli-Iranian confrontation, it would be worthwhile to look at the way the Ayatollah regime, still in its infancy, waged its first war. At the time, following a break in relations with the US, the Iranian regime was isolated and bereft of superpower backing. Iraq

received lavish military assistance from the Soviet Union, while Europe exerted pressure on Iran for disrupting the flow of oil caused by the war. During the long and bitter conflict, Iran's Republican Guards displayed a high degree of patience, endurance, and determination. The nation proved that it could weather massive attacks from unconventional weapons (poisonous gas) and retain its trust in its leadership. This is the heritage that Khomeini bequeathed to the Iranian people: fighting and winning against all odds. Those that believe Iran’s geographical distance from Israel will limit the Iranian response (the Iranians will mainly engage in long-range counter fire) fail to take into account the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis that enables Iran to bridge great distances. Republican Guard ground forces could be deployed along Israel's northern border and even engage the IDF in a protracted guerilla campaign.

On the frontlines

ď ­ Ayatollah Khomeini

Israel must also take into account Hezbollah's role in such a scenario, since Israel could be tested in an unprecedented event. For the first time, Hezbollah would be completely subordinate to Tehran's leadership and the Iranian military command even

Those that believe Iran’s geographical distance from Israel will limit the Iranian response fail to take into account the Iran-SyriaHezbollah axis that enables Iran to bridge great distances

though it is a Lebanese organization supported by the country's Shiite population. In an Israeli-Iranian war, Hezbollah would take orders from Iran in its first and perhaps only real opportunity to repay the enormous

debt that it owes to Iran for building up its military strength. Another possibility is that Iran could launch a preemptive strike and place responsibility on Hezbollah, since Tehran has

no interest in becoming entangled in hostilities prior to an Israeli attack. After an Israeli strike, the scope of Hezbollah’s rocket fire into Israel's depth could parallel the developments in the fighting between Israel and Iran. Israel should not be surprised if this time the rocket and missile fire is entirely different from the past. Instead of gradual escalation at the outset, Hezbollah could unleash a massive missile barrage into the heart of Tel Aviv.

Not today or in a few days Israel has to proceed with great caution in light of Iran’s policy and culture. A long and bitter guerilla struggle may ensue, one that could last for a year or a number of years against Iranian combat units on Israel's northern border. These scenarios are not the product of an imagination run wild, but logical directions that Iran could take as it aspires to realize its goal to become a regional superpower. 

MAY 2012


Rafael’s Next Air-to-Air Missile

Rafael's Chairman of the Board, Major General (Res.) Ilan Biran, reveals Rafael's strategy in an era of plummeting defense budgets and rivalries in Israel's defense industry

By Arie Egozi and Amir Rapaport


n a riveting interview with Rafael's Chairman, Major General (Res.) Ilan Biran reveals to IsraelDefense that Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is working on a sixth generation air-to-air missile. For decades, Rafael has been recognized as one of the world's leading producers of missiles designed for aerial combat. However, this news of its next air-to-air missile comes as a complete


MAY 2012

Photo: Meir Azulay

surprise – nothing short of a scoop. As details were revealed, it became clear that the next generation missile being developed is a creative application of Rafael’s Stunner (the interceptor section of David's Sling anti-missile defense system, which is in an advanced stage of development). David's Sling is a joint Israel-US (Rafael-Raytheon) project designed to intercept cruise missiles and intermediate-ranged rockets, and is

expected to become operational in 2013 or 2014. The Stunner's dolphin-shaped head enables all of its sensors to operate simultaneously. According to Biran, a test is scheduled to establish the interceptor's overall capabilities, including its air-to-air capabilities. While the Israeli Air Force (IAF) has yet to order the system, it will likely do so in the future (in the past it did not order air-to-air missiles in advance,

but instead, choose to acquire them only after development was completed). Rafael’s engineers and scientists are working on transforming the Stunner from a David's Sling interceptor into an air-to-air missile. Rafael is using its R&D budget, estimated at over 500 million NIS (approximately $125 million), to fund the project. Is it still necessary to invest in air-toair missiles if our advantage in this field

is far more advanced than our enemy’s capabilities? “David's Sling is the most strategic system being developed by Rafael today," says Biran. "Our enemies – from Iran to states and organizations near our borders – have more or less developed combat fire in the past twenty years. "The number of new platforms, if any, is small, but the number of missiles that range from primitive rockets to medium-

ranged ballistic missiles is very large. A state that wants to augment its deterrent capability – the object of every defense establishment – must develop a defensive capacity that can counter any form of threat. Without protecting its operating sites, Israel would be vulnerable to an attack.” Biran explains that David's Sling was developed primarily as an active defense missile system. "Its interceptor missile

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MAY 2012

Photo: Shmuel Golan The Iron Dome in action

has state-of-the art capabilities that will hopefully prove the guarantees of our engineers and scientists. The system is equipped with the most advanced technology in the world, but at a significantly lower price than its competitors. “David's Sling has RF (microwave radar) and electro-optical capabilities. It operates in all weather conditions against any type of target, travelling at Mach 5.5. Its air-to-air capability is only one of its six designated tasks. It can intercept ballistic missiles in the atmosphere, heavy rockets, manned or unmanned enemy aircraft, and any type of cruise missile that penetrates Israel's airspace." Besides David's Sling, Rafael invests in R&D in other projects that are at the forefront of technology. While many areas are strictly classified, some areas that can be mentioned are naval, air, and ground weapons, underwater anti-torpedo systems, electro-optical radar, and of course, the Iron Dome anti-missile system that was designed, tested, and manufactured in a record time of less than three years. Let's talk about the Iron Dome. "The Iron Dome had to overcome considerable opposition at first, but we at Rafael believed in it during its initial testing. Luckily, our confidence was justified. The anti-rocket laser weapon that was talked about not too long ago is still far-off. If and when R&D begins, it will take another 8-12 years until the system becomes operational, and even then it will be for short ranges. At any rate, no one is invested in laser weapons today and the verdict on the future of laser technology is still out. "We invested more than 4 billion NIS ($1 billion) in the Iron Dome project and still haven’t recovered the investment. However, I'm sure it's only a matter of time." Will it be exported to US forces overseas? "I'm waiting for orders to come in. The US sees the system relevant for their coalition forces. The goal of our partnership with Raytheon is to offer the Pentagon a solution. However, the US plans to withdraw from Afghanistan, in which case I doubt it will acquire the system. "The Iron Dome covers the lower layer of active defense, and at most, integrates

into the lower layer of David's Sling. The Arrow system intercepts long-ranged surface-to-surface ballistic missiles. Together, these three layers are Israel's operative answer to an array of threats. What about exporting Iron Dome to South Korea? Does Israel's decision to procure the Italian training plane for the IAF and not the Korean plane hurt the chances of selling to Korea again? "I won’t deny that the deal (the selection of the Italian M-346 jet training plane) has not helped us. The Israeli defense industry should view South Korea as a target market given its huge, thriving industry and the serious threats it faces. Seoul, the capital, is in perpetual danger of rocket and missile attacks from relatively short ranges; Iron Dome can provide an optimal answer. "We are ready to cooperate with the Koreans. Right now, we're still courting them. This won’t be a matter of weeks or months – it may take years to enter their market." The whole world is moving in the direction of unmanned platforms. Rafael produces the Protector (a USV currently operational in the Israeli Navy). Does

the company see additional unmanned vehicles as a springboard for sales? "At sea, definitely. We're investing in the next generation of unmanned maritime platforms, but we're not active in UAV R&D. I don’t think Rafael would benefit from more platforms at present. Let's say that we're sticking with missiles, movement capability, optical equipment, weapons, and intelligence gathering devices. "We have the best payloads and missiles in the world. We can offer top-notch equipment to any platform producer. We don’t produce aircraft, but hundreds of planes are equipped with Rafael's Litening and RecceLite targeting pods; precision weapon guidance, air-to-surface Spice missiles; Python-5 full-sphere IR air-to-air missiles; and Derby missiles. Our systems are mounted on UAVs, APCs, and other platforms." With Rafael’s backlog of $35 billion at the end of 2011, it’s no wonder that throughout the interview, Biran has to constantly answer urgent calls from company sales reps stationed around the globe. Major General (Res.) Ilan Biran has









MAY 2012


been a prominent figure in the defense establishment for decades. He began his military career in the Golani Infantry Brigade and became its commander before he was thirty-three, reaching the position of Head of Central Command near the end of his service. After retirement, he served as general manager of the Ministry of Defense and later filled a number of senior executive positions in the communications field. In 2007, he was appointed head of Rafael.

Defense mergers When Biran was general manager of the Ministry of Defense, he proposed merging the three big government defense industries – Israel Aerospace Industries, Rafael, and Israel Military Industries – into a single company called Israel Defense Industry. The concept sought one large merged government company operating with one non-government defense company, which was to be Elbit Systems. Biran still believes that there is no need for three huge government defense industries. "The plan envisioned a single defense industry that sold billions of dollars worth of goods and where each worker produced roughly $350,000 annually, pulling in a turnover of 6% profit annually. This never happened. As a rule, the government should be the regulator, not the owner, of such a company," says Biran. "Today, almost 80% of government defense industry products are for export. There's no reason for four Israeli government defense industries maintaining sales offices in Australia, for example, but this is the situation today." Are Rafael and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) locked in a serious rivalry? "This is just small talk. We aren’t in competition with IAI. In fact, the two companies engage in different fields." Rafael's success a decade ago (growing from a defense ministry auxiliary unit into a thriving government company) led to rumors that IMI


MAY 2012

would merge into Rafael as a separate division. Why didn’t this happen? Is a merger still possible? "On more than one occasion I've said that I'm prepared to examine IMI and offer a price. However, some people were against our examination, arguing that we're a rival firm. Without reviewing IMI in detail, the issue is of no relevance. I have no intention of gambling with Rafael's interests." On the subject of IMI, the Ministry of Defense decided that Rafael would supply a new batch of Trophy systems for AFVs, with IMI as your subcontractor for the system's interceptor and Elbit as subcontractor for the radar. The merger is not taking place, and IMI's CEO, Avi Felder, claimed in a previous interview with IsraelDefense that IMI's hard-kill active protection system, Iron Fist, is better than the Trophy. Can the two systems be integrated? "I have nothing to say about IMI. I'm not familiar with their system, and I prefer not to discuss matters that I'm not knowledgeable on. However, I hope that common sense will prevail. The only active defense system in the world today that is operational on AFVs and that has proven effective under fire is the Trophy. "The Trophy became operational two to three years ago, but its development was a very long process. The defense establishment has decided to procure the current generation of systems, but the next system will have to be financed by the Ministry of Defense’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and the Technological Industry (Mafat). Rafael can certainly be the primary contractor, with IMI, Elbit, and others as subcontractors." Why should Rafael be the primary contractor? "There's a difference between developing a system with operational potential and developing and producing a fully operational system like ours. "If I were in charge of the Ministry of Defense, I would have made the same decision. Today, I have a vested interest

in Rafael, but I know of no other country where two different companies develop the same active defense system.

Thriving on exports According to Biran, 2012 is a challenging year for Israel's defense industries in light of the downturn in defense budgets, especially in the West. "We feel the slowdown. The US and other countries have all but halted military acquisitions," states Biran. One way that Rafael has leveraged its competitiveness has been to partner with local companies in target countries. It recently acquired a 40% stake in Brazil's Gespi Aeronautica and signed a deal with its German partner worth hundreds of millions of euros in the sale of Spike anti-tank guided missiles. "We thrive on exports, and partnerships are important, especially when 50% financing is better than nothing," affirms Biran. "The order backlog is the company's virtual horizon. This is what provides us with work and the ability to pay salaries. The question is whether we will succeed in securing new orders from places like India and South America as we fill our backlog. Asia is a burgeoning market, and we are also looking into other countries. We haven’t laid off any workers, but we have cut back a bit on extra time out of a sense of responsibility for the future. "Rafael is in an advantageous position right now. As I see it, we can offer the world relevant products at a time of budgetary stringency by offering to upgrade existing platforms with state-ofthe art systems. We have more experience in this area than others because we went through the learning curve on our own out of necessity. It costs much less to retrofit an existing platform than to buy a completely new one." In the interim, the local market isn’t in great shape either, is it? "There have been cutbacks in the defense budget, but this is a problem that all of Israel's defense industries must face. 

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Naval Vehicles

The Head of the Navy’s Weapons Department, Colonel Meir Ben Zuk, talks about the next missile boat, unmanned surface vessels, antisubmarine weapons, and the tangible threat from the Syrian coast – the Yakhont Russian-made, anti-ship cruise missile

By Amir Rapaport


he Israeli Navy is shopping for an advanced missile boat – one with a 1,300 ton displacement similar to the largest vessel currently in service – the Sa’ar 5, which is manufactured by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Company in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The Navy has renounced its plan to procure Lockheed Martin’s LCS (Littoral Combat Ship) with a 2,000 ton displacement. Negotiations stopped after the company cut back on the project and the price per ship dramatically increased. The Navy then examined the possibility of building a similar-sized vessel in Israeli shipyards based on the German MEKO


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A-100 corvette, but this idea was also dropped. What are the Navy’s current plans? “The Navy is tasked with various missions, the main one being the defense of Israel’s sea lanes and ensuring freedom of maritime movement in wartime. We’re building our force in response to these needs,” says Col. Meir Ben Zuk, head of the Navy’s Weapons Department. “The Navy’s capabilities in routine situations and emergencies can be maximized only if naval platforms are in the area – air power alone is insufficient to ensure sovereignty. However, we still lack the required number of platforms and the current layout is outdated. The

fleet must be upgraded. The geopolitical arena is also changing dramatically. Countries whose navies stagnated over the last 30-40 years are now equipped with naval weapons on par with the arms race in the Middle East.” But size is not always an advantage at sea. “True, size can be a disadvantage. First, there’s the high cost of ships and their maintenance. Nevertheless, our needs demand minimal growth at least. A naval platform has to carry a critical mass of munitions and assemble a realtime picture for command and defense. “The Israeli Navy doesn’t operate like other fleets, where various types of

vessels are constructed for a wide range of assignments. The Israeli Navy is based on versatile ships capable of performing multiple tasks simultaneously. This is our guideline in choosing the type of vessel for upgrading the fleet. At present, we are looking at several options. In the past, the Navy believed in a package of fighting systems that led to a ship with a displacement of more than 2,000 tons. Given today’s budget constraints, we’re currently looking at ships that are the same size as our present ones.” Don’t large vessels make for easier targets? “Not necessarily. Ships have many defense layers that provide a high level of

survivability.” Does that mean that the plans for the MEKO A-100 are no longer relevant? “Correct. The MEKO A-100 is a 2,200 ton corvette.” What about building a new vessel in an Israeli shipyard with a special grant from the Ministry of Finance that would kick-start shipbuilding in Israel? “We’re examining all possibilities.” Is there still a chance that the next missile boat will be built by Ingalls Shipbuilding and financed with US foreign military aid? “As I said, we’re examining all the options.”

Operational character Before becoming Chief of the Weapons Department, Ben Zuk served in various command positions on surface vessels and was head of the Navy’s Finance Department (in addition to being a naval officer, he is also an economist). The weapons department is responsible for the operational specifications of naval equipment. You mentioned a maritime arms race in the Middle East. Was this in reference to the Yakhont supersonic, shoreto-sea missile that Syria procured from Russia? “This missile definitely poses a challenge. It’s the best weapon of its kind

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The Sa’ar 5 missile boat Photo: IDF Spokesperson

in the Middle East because of its velocity and advanced seeker technology.” Isn’t IAI’s Barak 8 anti-missile, which the Navy is currently absorbing, supposed to answer this threat? “It’s not a question of an answer against a specific threat. The Navy views all threats with the utmost seriousness and continues to develop a wide range of defense systems. This has been and will remain our goal.” Last year, there were reports that Hamas smuggled a radar-seeking, anti-ship missile – the Chinese-made C-704 – into the Gaza Strip. Has the Navy prepared for this threat as well? “Naturally, we know about the radarseeking anti-ship missile bound for Gaza. After all, we were the ones who captured it. The C-704 was supposed to extend Iran’s military ambitions by providing terror organizations with strategic capability.” Can you state with certainty that such weapons are currently deployed along Gaza’s coast? “No.” The Navy is currently equipped with Rafael’s Protector. Do you intend to expand USV operations? “The Navy believes that USVs can be used for a wide range of assign-


MAY 2012

ments. They are highly effective platforms and their technology is progressing rapidly.” Are you planning to replace the AS-565 naval helicopter on the next missile boat? “Yes. Staff work is underway in coordination with the air force to develop a helicopter that has a greater range and doesn’t require a larger flight deck.”

Industrial ties Although the Navy is considered a small branch (some even equate it with the size of an average air force base), Israel’s security industries are working on a number of projects for the country’s fleet. “The Navy has very close ties with the industry,” acknowledges Col. Ben Zuk. “While it’s true that we are limited in size, the local industries have made the leap and are engaged in hitech projects that they believe will also prove marketable overseas. The fact that this is in-house technology gives the Navy an added advantage.” The local defense industries are also helping the Navy in underwater warfare. “Countermeasures to submarine threats are being developed at a rapid pace,” explains Ben Zuk.

What about the development of a staring radar (that permanently scans an area without a narrow moving beam) for naval needs? This is technology with universal applications. The Navy can use staring radar systems in areas it wants to observe for long periods.” Does the Navy see itself as an integral part of ground warfare? Is naval firepower involved in jointness with ground forces? “The Navy is constantly examining its capabilities of where it can contribute and be integrated, especially in light of its sea depth and high degree of survivability. The Navy was instrumental in Operation Cast Lead in target elimination and ground support. Inter-arm cooperation is improving and is part of the ongoing learning process.” Is the Navy taking significant steps to protect the offshore energy reserves that were recently discovered? “The Navy is capable of protecting the energy reserves. A direct link exists between the amount invested in this task and the level of defense we can provide. A lot of planning has gone into this, and we’re currently waiting for a decision on the size of the budget that will be allocated to the task.” 


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The Head of the IDF's Ground Force Command , Eyal Zamir

A strong and overwhelming maneuver into the heart of the enemy's layouts will neutralize the missile threat to the homefront," says Brigadier General Eyal Zamir, head of the IDF's Ground Force Command. IsraelDefense met with Zamir for a special interview in advance of the May 21-24 2nd International Fire Operations Conference sponsored by the Artillery Association and IsraelDefense at the Artillery Association Memorial Site in Zikron Ya'akov. Brigadier General Zamir is referring to the IDF's preparations for the next confronta-


MAY 2012

tion. The implication is clear: the next war will not be similar in any way, shape, or form to the Second Lebanon War in 2006. Back then, the IDF waged a long-range fire campaign during which enemy rockets rained down on northern Israel. Now, the IDF appears ready to respond with a swift, incisive, lethal maneuver into the source of enemy missile and rocket fire – whether in Lebanon or the Gaza Strip. "In a place like Gaza, a maneuver is rather limited, but in a large-scale operation, we see it as the decisive element," says Zamir. "The enemy has altered his tactics over

the last decade. According to our assessment, he's not building combat platforms to use against us or planning an in-depth operational maneuver into Israel. Instead, he's shifted to counter warfare. He's amassed a formidable missile threat at every level that is designed to strike at our population centers and destroy our combat platforms. "The enemy wants to force us into battle. However, it is not in our interest to get drawn into a situation where we exchange fire in a weeks-long campaign, at the end of which each side claims victory.

A STRONG AND SHORT MANEUVER IS THE GOAL The Head of the IDF's Ground Force Command tells IsraelDefense that the IDF is prepared to make "a strong and overwhelming maneuver into the heart of the enemy's layouts"

By Amir Rapaport

Photo: Meir Azulay

"Our answer is to implement a decisive maneuver that will result in victory. The enemy is aware of our plans and has built very powerful defense envelopes. Therefore, to meet this challenge, we have to prepare a maneuver capable of overcoming obstacles that penetrate into the depth of their layout well beyond the first envelope." How does this affect force buildup? "We're building brigades, divisions, artillery formations, and other forces that can penetrate the enemy's defense and win the battle. Our goal is to have strong divisions that can perform a major maneu-

ver (whether an infantry or mechanized/ armored maneuver) with very powerful fire support.

Joint fire How do you plan to bolster firepower? "We distinguish between statistical fire that lands on enemy layouts and precision fire. We're aware that the enemy exploits the urban environment, using human shields and civilian homes as garrisons. Therefore, our maneuvering layout is being built with extremely accurate fire

capabilities. "One of our directions is to create pinpoint accurate fire, and provide the divisional level with precise rocket fire for distances of 40-50 km. These are relatively low-cost ordinary rockets, not the very expensive missiles designed for special tasks." Is a new rocket battalion in the works? "The plan envisions every brigade and division equipped with a rocket battery. The division can then use the different batteries together or individually." What about self-propelled artillery? The present self-propelled cannon, the

MAY 2012


 Armored brigade exercise, May 2012

M-109 Doher (Galloper) is already in its fourth decade of service. "We're looking into a new canon. This, and providing the divisions with rockets, are two of the topics on the agenda after the dimensions of the budget in the next multi-year plan for 2013-2017 are known." What about acquiring rockets with a 150 km range? There were reports that Israel Military Industries (IMI) is developing an EXTRA (Extended Range Artillery) rocket with this range. "I prefer not to discuss this matter."

Target acquisition "Another element in the application of fire is intelligence," states Zamir. "The ability to convey quality intelligence that provides the fire and maneuverability to cause the enemy maximum harm depends on target acquisition and C2 (command and control) systems.” The fourth element in the application of fire, whose importance cannot be overestimated, is inter-arm cooperation with the air force. "Very valuable work is being done on inter-arm (air force-ground force) jointness for target acquisition, surveillance, and fire application using attack helicopters and warplanes. Not all the glitches have been ironed out, but progress is being made. "For example, an inter-arm jointness


MAY 2012

school was set up at the Palmachim Airbase. Joint study days for ground and air personnel are held to enhance cooperation at different levels. "Another area – unmanned aircraft – is also expanding at a rapid pace." What about the plan for the ground forces and air force to develop a joint low ground level UAV? (The first two Skylark UAVs that Elbit Systems developed are currently undergoing operational testing near the Egypt-Israel border.) "At present, no funds have been forthcoming for the project, so it's on hold. But we're carrying out replenishment with the Skyrider UAV (Elbit's Skylark 1). Eventually, every armored and infantry battalion will be equipped with it. This will be a very effective addition that will enable a battalion commander to view everything in a particular area without having to wait for intelligence reports from the division command." Is the present IDF command satisfied with the decision for the last multi-year plan to procure a large number of Merkava Namer APCs by 2020, built jointly in Israel and the United States? This looks like a budget-consuming project. "The Golani Infantry Brigade is already fully equipped with Namer APCs, which we consider to be crucial. After decades, the infantry finally possesses a quality platform. An infantry soldier can't move on foot for

Photo: Ofer Zidon

the entire duration of a war. Infantry-armor combat teams need quality infantry that can perform armored assignments, penetrate the enemy's depth, and carry out missions on short notice. "The enemy has vast quantities of munitions that can wreak havoc on foot soldiers. Therefore, when we speak about an overwhelming maneuver and joint combat, from our point of view, we need infantry platforms that can accompany and discharge the force. This is a major project, but as far as numbers are concerned, we'll leave that unmentioned."

A new Shahar "In addition to the Namer, new equipment has significantly upgraded the infantry in the last few years," says Zamir. "This includes the Keshet 120 mm precision mortar system, as well as the Shahar C2 system, which is being introduced to all battalion commanders and is part of the Digital Army Program (DAP). In order to increase infantry effectiveness, we've added surveillance devices and many other layouts. On today's battlefield, a target's visibility is brief. The advanced C2 systems are like a railway network that connects forces at various echelons in order to shorten the sensor-to-shooter cycle. We're doing everything we can to actualize the concept that maneuverability is key." 

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The Hermes 450 UAV used by the IIAF Photo: Ofer Zidon

The Fire Cycle

In an urban combat environment, the mission is to locate and eliminate a target that is only visible for a few seconds. In anticipation of the May 22 International Fire Conference, IsraelDefense explores the IDF weapons that significantly shorten the "sensor-to-shooter cycle" By Moriya Ben-Yosef


he modern battlefield poses serious challenges in trying to reduce sensor-to-shooter cycles. In the dense urban environments of the 21st century, armies have to deal with mobile, unpredictable, urgent, and fleeting targets that necessitate a rapid response. To meet these needs, the IDF and the Israeli defense industries are developing an impressive arsenal of systems that identify and eliminate fleeting targets within seconds in complex fighting environments. The sensor-to-shooter cycle requires diverse tactics. From intelligence collection, target identification and verification, data transmission to relevant levels, and an attack, perfect coordination must be maintained between UAVs, airplanes, helicopters, visual systems, radar, payloads, laser


MAY 2012

markers, attack pods, communication systems, command and control (C2) systems, precision guided munitions (PGMs), and more. The ground and air forces have been extremely successful in obtaining and conveying intelligence in real time and providing rapid sensor-to-shooter cycles for targeted assassinations. This has also been the case when targeting Palestinian rocket launching teams in the Gaza Strip (including during the latest round of fighting in March 2012).

Radar systems and payloads The first stage of the sensor-to-shooter cycle is target spotting and verification using various radars and payloads. One such

payload is the ELM-2084 (the multi-mission radar system mounted on the Iron Dome system), developed by Israel Aerospace Industries’ Elta Division. The system can identify and handle multiple simultaneous airborne targets and provide a comprehensive situational picture of the threats in the field, especially with high-trajectory fire (the radar can also use anti-missile systems simultaneously). The information received by the radar is conveyed to ground and air forces via its C2 system, which enables instant cover fire. Rafael has also developed electro-optical radar systems capable of identifying fire from ground launches. Rafael's RecceLite, TopLite, and Litening airborne systems, which are installed onboard aircraft and UAVs, can detect, classify, and attack targets in real time. "The future lies in pro-

cess automation, where intelligence and collection systems identify, locate, classify, and select targets for elimination in operational time," says Haim Jacobovitz, corporate vice president and general manager of Rafael's Network-Centric Warfare Sector. "You have a map grid and must hit the second house to the right. It's vital that you don’t miss the target and hit a neighboring house instead. The systems transmit the data to the person pressing the button, but he will need to deal with only one event, not with five separate events," explains Jacobovitz. Elbit Systems produces Condor 2 visual intelligence systems that provide longrange vertical or oblique high-resolution aerial photos, as well as various advanced payloads mounted on its UAVs. Elbit recently unveiled its WAAPS (Wide Area Aerial Persistent Surveillance) – an innovative aircraft-mounted, network response that covers broad areas using advanced sensors. Elbit’s subsidiaries, Elisra and El-Op, also offer a wide range of solutions for detecting sources of fire and missile threats. There are also other companies, such as Ness Technologies, that created a system that produces precise grid coordinates from simulations in a swift and simple manner (a Ness system used by the IAF won the Israel Defense Prize in 2005). Bluebird Aero Systems manufactures the GlobeI, a lightweight multi-sensor payload that conveys visual, multi-directional information via continuous video. Likewise, NextVision offers the MicroCam-DU – an integrated day-night payload for air observation and investigation. Controp, which was recently acquired by both Rafael and Aeronautics, produces surveillance and intelligence payloads mounted on tactical UASs (Unmanned Aerial Systems), observation balloons, and other instruments. The company is developing new payloads to provide instant fire cover through financing from the Israeli Ministry of Defense and the US Department of Defense. Controp also recently completed a mini-payload with daytime observation equipment.

Information fusion

The proliferation of airborne and ground sensors poses a unique challenge to the IDF to "fuse" information received from various sources and assemble a coherent, unified picture. Through this, targets received from different systems can be recognized as the same target, rather than an infinite number of different targets within the same area. Today's advanced ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) systems, including the Digital Army Program (DAP), assist ground forces in establishing a common language and unified picture that enables the immediate execution of an attack. Companies such as Elbit, Ness, IAI, Rafael, and its subsidiary, mPrest Systems, produce a wide range of management systems for the rapid transmission of data and processed information via video, image, and audio relay, while fully linking dozens of participants. Several Israeli defense industries are working on projects whose goal is to create systems that reach total "information fusion."

Target acquisition systems Another stage in the cycle is target designation and laser marking, both of which are vital to successful missions. "In the case of air-ground assistance, precise and reliable coordinates are essential," says Moti Albo, CEO of Asio Technologies, which develops and manufactures extremely accurate target acquisition systems. Another company, Thermal Beacon, produces laser markers for target painting and thermal markers that identify friendly forces. "The laser marker eliminates verbal communication between ground and air forces for target location and creates a non-verbal common language," explains Avi Peer, Thermal Beacon's CEO. "A kill zone can be determined and illuminated on command. Once the target is destroyed, another command shuts the illumination off. The cycle takes seconds and leaves the enemy in a state of shock." IAI's Tamam Division also offers an array of observation systems and advanced target markers, and Elbit's El-Op is regarded as a world leader in laser marking.

Ordinance systems After spotting, identifying, and locating a target, eliminating it is the next step. There are various forms of PGM options that range from aerial bombings to ground attacks guided by airborne intelligence, spotting, and directional systems. The latter includes Rafael's Spike ER (Extended Range) and Spike NLOS (Non Line of Sight) missiles – tactical PGMs for ranges between 8 and 25 km that are linked to observation and C2 systems and launched from aerial, naval, and ground platforms. Rafael also recently unveiled its new Spike-class missile for very short ranges under 4 km. IAI is developing its own advanced attack missiles, such as the air-to-surface Whip Shot, designed to hit soft targets such as humans or vehicles, and Delilah, an air-tosurface missile with a range of 250 km. During the Second Lebanon War, a Delilah missile hit a truck carrying ammunition from Syria to Hezbollah forces in Lebanon. IAI’s Malam and Mabat divisions are producing the MLGB (Medium-weight Laser Guided Bomb) and Lahat (Laser Homing Attack Missile), as well as the Jumper system, which carries eight precision rockets and is controlled by a force commander in the operational arena. Elbit is developing the GATR (Guided Advanced Tactical Rocket) for air-to-surface and surface-to-surface missions, as well as the Keshet system, which integrates 120 mm mortars with state-of-the-art electronic fire control and navigation, and sophisticated target acquisition systems to enhance the accuracy of mortar ammunition delivery. This weapon was used extensively during Operation Cast Lead in January 2009, and the Israeli Ministry of Defense recently decided to order another large quantity of these systems. "Some of the sensor-to-shooter cycle systems currently operational in the IDF remain classified. Israel is undeniably a world leader in the field of handling targets in complex fighting environments," sums up a senior IDF officer.

The following pages contain a diagram of Israel's "sensor-to-shooter" systems. 

MAY 2012


Israeli systems involved in Quick

TopLite | Manufacturer: Elbit Systems Electro-optic sensor for target spotting, identification, and classification ELM 2032 | Manufacturer: Elta Multimode airborne fire control radar identifies fast moving targets up to target lock on, operates day and night, in all weather conditions

Apache Longbow

Radars and payloads

RecceLite | Manufacturer: Elbit Systems Targeting pod for planes and UAVs provides real-time photography and reconnaissance


ELM 2084 (Multi-Mission Radar) | Manufacturer: Elta Multi-mission radar for artillery spotting and short- and long-range air control


ELM-2026B VSHORAD | Manufacturer: Elta Short-range air defense radar


ELM-2054 | Manufacturer: Elta UAV radar for surveillance and target designation STAMP/Mini-payload | Manufacturer: Controp Mini UAV-mounted, high quality, full zoom, nonvibration camera that provides precision-sharp, beyond-the-hill intelligence and observation pictures DSP-1 | Manufacturer: Controp Payload system on tactical UAVs for day and night intelligence and observation applications Globe-i | Manufacturer: BlueBird Mini electro-optic payload supplies very wide angle video pictures MicroCam-D | Manufacturer: NextVision Day-night payload weighing 450 grams, designed for air observation and investigation

LAHAT Manufacturer: IAI, Mabat Division Laser-guided missile launched from tanks, ships, or planes MLGB Manufacturer: IAI, Mabat Division Precise-homing, optimal navigation, laser-guided bomb

Missiles and mortars

Jumper Manufacturer: IAI, Malam Division Tactical, precision 8-rocket kit controlled by force commander in the field

Spike NLOS

Gil missile

Spike ER Manufacturer: Rafael Tactical guided missile for ranges up to 8 km, suited for various platforms, linked to C2 and observation systems Spike NLOS Manufacturer: Rafael Precision tactical missile for ranges up to 25 km, suited for various platforms, linked to C2 and observation systems Delilah Manufacturer: IMI Advanced air-to-surface attack missile for ranges up to 250 km


Whip Shot Manufacturer: IMI Air-to-surface missile developed for light attack aircraft, designed to hit soft targets GATR Manufacturer: Elbit Precision laser-guided rocket for air-to-surface and surface-to-surface missions Keshet Manufacturer: Elbit Systems Autonomous 120 mm mortar system combined with state-of-the-art control, navigation, and aiming systems

ELM ELM 2084


sensor-to-shooter cycles

Sky Star 300 Observation Balloon

Orbiter 3 | Manufacturer: Aeronautics UAV with integrated, electro-optic, ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance) multi-mission payload      Aerostar | Manufacturer: Aeronautics Tactical UAV carrying diverse payloads for target acquisition and designation, artillery fire adjustment, battlefield and border control Heron | Manufacturer: IAI Long-range, intermediate altitude, tactical UAV Harop | Manufacturer: IAI Hunter-killer UAV, hovers over the battlefield and attacks targets


Hermes 450 | Manufacturer: Elbit Systems Tactical, long-endurance UAV for counter-terror missions Skylark | Manufacturer: Elbit Systems Mini-UAV for tactical surveillance and reconnaissance

Sa’ar 5 Missile Boat


C4I Systems



RAVNET | Manufacturer: Rafael Airborne tactical radio network provides instantaneous high quality voice and high capacity data communication between aircraft and ground terminals Dominator IICS | Manufacturer: Elbit Systems C4 system (Command, Control, Communications, and Computers) that enables full situational awareness while dramatically shortening the sensor-to-shooter loop TORC2H | Manufacturer: Elbit Systems C4 system that provides common “language and picture” for different forces WinBMS | Manufacturer: Elbit Systems Net-based battle management system from the Digital Army Program


Combat NG | Manufacturer: Elbit Systems Command and Control (C2) system that provides comprehensive fire support, enabling artillery to operate autonomously HeliC3om | Manufacturer: Elbit Systems Fully-digital, integrated Command, Control, Communications, and Mission Management System that provides helicopter crews with a realtime tactical picture for situational awareness


Nurit radar

Pods and laser pointers

MIC4AD | Manufacturer: mPrest C2 system for air defense selects optimal interceptor system for threat neutralization

Pointer | Manufacturer: ASIO Vision High-precision target acquisition, multi-user, multi-task system Light Sword | Manufacturer: Thermal Beacon Hand-held laser illuminator and designator for target marking MOSP 3000 Manufacturer: IAI, Tamam Division Surveillance and advanced target designator system Mini POP–D Manufacturer: IAI, Tamam Division Long-range, compact surveillance, and laser-designator system Coral | Manufacturer: Elbit Systems Hand-held observation system for target acquisition from stationary and mobile positions Rattler | Manufacturer: Elbit Systems Mini-laser designator for unmanned aerial and ground platforms and individual soldiers JTAC | Manufacturer: Elbit Systems Laser system for spotting aerial targets

LAHAT Hatchet

MAY 2012



Fewer Systems for Tanks, More for Passenger Planes The 2011 financial report reveals the recovery of IMI’s Ashot Ashkelon; CEO Dan Katz sets a goal for “sales in the scope of $100 million” By Arie Egozi

 The Ashot Ashkelon factory


everal years ago, Ashot Ashkelon, an Israel Military Industries subsidiary, faced severe financial difficulties and was on the verge of being sold for a minuscule sum. Back then, no one expected that a day would come when it would become one of IMI’s brightest beacons. Nevertheless, this is precisely what happened. According to the latest stock market reports, Ashot has become profitable and prosperous. One of the main reasons for the dramatic change is that Ashot Ashkelon delved into new fields. Along with its traditional activity in the field of tank and APC systems, it also produces systems for some of the worlds leading passenger planes. The company’s origins were actually in the civilian field: Ilene Industries founded Ashot Ashkelon in 1967 as a means to produce transmission gears for automobiles. It was acquired by the Israeli government in 1970, and in 1990, when IMI was transformed from a


MAY 2012

Photo: IMI

Ministry of Defense division into a government company, it received the company’s shares. In 1992, Ashot Askhelon underwent a process of privatization; 12.5% was initially sold to the public, which later grew to 15%. In 2003, the company decided to fully privatize, and published a tender three years later to start the transformation. Former Knesset Chairman Avraham Burg became a potential buyer, and a lengthy inspection process began. The deal faced numerous opponents, and was eventually cancelled after several organizations intervened, including Israel’s State Comptroller. Unfortunately, the company suffered greatly from two events during the privatization process. One was the end of production for the Merkava Mark III tank, which dramatically decreased the workload. The other was the 9/11 terror attacks in the US, which caused a crisis in the aviation market and a decline in the sales of the company’s aviation products.

It was during these challenging years that IMI’s CEO, Avi Felder, who heads the subsidiary’s board of directors, entered into the mix. He successfully recruited the funds needed to save Ashot Ashkelon’s production lines and brought the company to a state of profitability. Now, nearly a decade after the major crisis, the company earned approximately $4.8 million during the first three quarters of 2011. On a tour of the company, one can see new equipment and production lines manned by 410 employees, most of which are residents of Israel’s southern region. Tank and APC transmission gears, systems for operating aircraft wing parts, and tungsten weights used to balance aircraft midair are all being manufactured. The production of a component used for stopping the tremors of a Merkava tank, or a unit connecting the tank’s enormous 1,500 horsepower capacity engine to its tracks, is no simple task. “We’ve positioned ourselves at the upper side of machining,” says CEO Dan Katz. Indeed, when seeing the parts intended for tanks and aircraft, it quickly becomes apparent that these are parts produced at a monumental level of precision that undergo strict production control. Katz says that over the years, the knowledge created to work on tank parts was used to create aircraft components. Thus, there are parts manufactured at Ashkelon in some of the world’s most advanced passenger planes. A blue and white label with the address “Ashkelon – Israel” is placed on the boxes in which each part is packaged. Several security elements insisted that the identification of the place of manufacturing should be avoided. Katz did not heed this request, and proudly marks every cardboard box departing for aircraft factories across the globe. While there were once thousands of

The US Army Will Examine the Israeli Namer

Namer APC Photo: IDF Spokesperson

Dan Katz

Photo: IMI

The Israeli APC will soon undergo a test run in the US. In Israel, the number of Namer APCs the IDF will obtain is expected to be reduced

tanks in Europe serving former Warsaw Pact armies, the era has since passed, and the global tank market is now small. “The tanks that are still operational undergo upgrades by having systems installed. We have less work,” Ashot’s manager says. However, Katz is seeking to rush forward faster. Today, all parts are produced by specifications prepared by the aircraft manufacturers or their subcontractors. Now, the effort is to design parts at Ashot as well. “We will undertake an accelerated effort in the coming year to increase the company’s activity in the field of aviation. We have something to contribute, and we will do it.” Katz reveals that an effort is currently underway to integrate a system designed by Ashot into a new executive jet. “The negotiations are with a company that wants to close a deal with us. If we accept the part’s design and production, it will be in the framework of a 30-year contract.” According to Katz, Ashot’s acquisition of a Chicago-based company dealing in cogwheel production (valued at $4 million) will make it easier for the company to operate in the US market. The US prefers to do business with local companies when supplying military systems, even if a company’s ownership is foreign. “We are presently looking for a company in Europe with a product to acquire,” Katz adds. Ashot Ashkelon’s sales stand at approximately $70 million annually. “We’ll be able to cross the $100 million mark within a matter of two or three years,” says Katz, setting it as a goal. 


his summer, the US Army will look into the possibility of procuring the Merkava APC (Namer) produced by the Israeli defense establishment, which is expected to undergo a series of tests in the US during June and July. Israel is hoping that the US Army will decide to procure a certain number of Namers. At the same time, the IDF intends to decrease the number of APCs procured for the IDF in Israel. The Namer project is part of the Merkava Tank project, which is undergoing a renewed analysis in Israel following the cuts to Israel’s defense budget. The IDF was supposed to invest approximately 2 billion NIS in the construction of new Merkava tanks and APCs in the framework of decisions for the previous multi-year plan (the 2007-2011 Tefen plan), for a duration of ten years beginning in 2011. Approximately half of the sum is funded by the US, as part of the work on the Namer APC is carried out in the US, and the other half in NIS for work carried out in Israel. The latter provides a living for employees of nearly 200 factories involved in the Merkava tank and tens of Israeli factories that provide Namer components. The project is carried out in its entirety by the Merkava Tank Planning Directorate, which belongs to the IDF and the Ministry of Defense.

There is consensus within the Israeli defense establishment regarding the necessity of the new tanks and APCs; however, there is a question regarding the quantity established in the previous multi-year plan. The Israeli political echelon is exerting pressure to cut the number of Namer APCs slated for future production in half. Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz (who displayed no hesitation in drastically cutting the armored ORBAT as Commander of the Ground Forces prior to the Second Lebanon War) is also spearheading a significant cut in the project. Now that the Golani Infantry Brigade recently concluded its full procurement of the Namer APC, it appears that the IDF will be content with having the APC as the main system for its infantry units. One issue that may arise is the Ministry of Defense’s commitment to GDLS, the US company that established Namer production lines in the city of Lima, Ohio. Under the MoD-GDLS contract, the deal stipulates that a minimal amount of Namer APCs will be produced in two stages. The IDF is considering canceling the second stage, though from a legal perspective, it is doubtful they will be able to leave the contract. If the US Army decides to equip its forces with the Namer, this issue may be solved. 

MAY 2012



special interviews

Two New Radar Families from RADA Born in the field of avionics, RADA now focuses on ground products

Photo: Meir Azulay

ground and air incursions.” Parallel to RADA’s work on tactical radars, the IDF approached the domestic defense industries with a request to make mobile radars as compact and inexpensive as possible. The new radar developed for these requirements is designed to warn convoys and stationary troops of hostile fire, including steep trajectory fire.

Dubi Sela and the new radar

Two families


ADA Electronic Industries will debut a new line of tactical radars (hardware platforms) at the Eurosatory International Exhibition in Paris (June 1115, 2012). While RADA Electronics is better known as an avionics company, one of its products will be used for ground applications. Its airborne Digital Video Recorder (DVR) for fixed and rotary wing aircraft records video, data, and audio, and provides data transfers, mass storage functions, and in-flight playback.

RADA turns toward the ground “In the middle of the last decade, we realized that our expansion in avionics was limited; on the other hand, ground-based radar systems are in high demand for vehicles and individual soldiers,” says Dubi Sella, a senior manager at RADA. “So we decided to turn to ground products as a springboard for growth.” RADA’s first ground product was an inertial


MAY 2012

navigation system (INS), based on hardware that the company developed for the Heron TP Eitan UAV. RADA entered the field of tactical radars almost by chance at the end of the last decade when it partnered with Rafael in the development of Active Defense System (ADS) radar for tanks and APCs. After initial R&D, the company signed a cooperation agreement with Israel Military Industries (IMI) for integrating RADA’s radar into IMI’s Iron Fist hard-kill APS. The radar and the entire system scored successfully on a grueling battery of tests in the US and Germany. IMI then signed a number of international cooperation agreements for marketing the Iron Fist (with RADA’s radar as an integral part of the system) worldwide. “As the project progressed, we saw that the world of radars is much broader than we first thought,” admits Sella. “We realized that the tactical radar, whether mobile or stationary, is a vital feature on the modern battlefield, especially in asymmetric conflicts. Today’s borders also require tactical radars that are capable of detecting

After years of development, RADA is about to unveil two new radar hardware platforms at the Eurosatory International Exhibition. One is the Compact Hemispheric Radar (CHR) that differentiates between threats to vehicles, and provides the necessary intelligence for any course of action, whether it is counter fire or avoidance. The RPS-10 CHR, originally developed for the Iron Fist ADS, warns of hostile fire coming from immobile and mobile vehicles. Another radar hardware platform is the Multi-mission Hemispheric Radar (MHR) that is tailored to ground force and border protection applications. This system has four radar panels, each covering 90° in azimuth and 70° in elevation. Hemisphere coverage is achieved by the simultaneous operation of the four panels. When RADA’s new radars are integrated into C2 and anti-aircraft systems, they can be deployed in the field next to launchers. This eliminates the need for one large, expensive, central radar for supplying data to anti-aircraft batteries spread out over dozens of kilometers. “Every radar comes with multiple applications and can be tasked according to the choice of application,” explains Sella. When asked whether RADA’s main source of income was radar, Sella responded by saying, “We’re very optimistic about this field. Still, we have to maintain the highest level of quality in order for this optimism to be valid.” 

Combined Ventilation, NBC, HVAC, & Biological Filtration Sys A New System for Gas Emissions for Vehicles, Tents, Containers, Mobile Shelters, and Surgery Cent Beth-El Industries developed a system that filters toxic gases emitted during fires


eth-El Industries is currently beginning to install a new system that filters fire fumes, which are extremely toxic for soldiers in tanks. The new system will be installed onboard numerous platforms, including a new vehicle being released by General Dynamics, the German-produced Leopard tank, and more. In addition to filtrating noxious fumes emitted by fires, the system will also filter NBC emissions, hazardous materials, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), and sand and dust. The systems, small and durable, performs well and can function for a long period without needing replacement. “There are emissions in every instance of

fire, and some of them are quite toxic," says Jehudah Fehlauer, the head of sales and marketing at Beth-El Industries. "There have been incidents in which soldiers were hurt by these gases, which can even result in brain damage. The concentrations are far above acceptable limits,” Fehlauer notes. According to Fehlauer, in recent years, changes have been made with regards to the issue of ensuring the health of soldiers, both in routine activities and in ongoing security patrols. The issue, which is now receiving considerable attention, goes beyond the concern for a soldier's well-being, as many militaries acknowledge that damages claimed by injured soldiers can be expensive. 

EPCS 180 VM-3

Ventilation, Air Conditioning, NBC-Filtration, & Weapon’s Fire Fume Filtration


Are Tanks Old-Fashioned? Brigadier General (Res.)NBCAmir Nir, CEO of Kinetics, discusses the company’s development Ventilation and Filtration paths following the departure of US forces from Iraq System for Vehicles & rigadier General (Res.) Amir Nir posed to reduce the number of tanks, The company sold more than 15,000 Containers


recalls that “Dozens of 4x4 and 8x8 vehicles were presented at the 2005 Eurosatory Air Show in Paris, but not a single tank was present. The world was heading in the direction of light vehicles at the time, including the IDF.” In 2005, Nir headed the Merkava Tank Planning Directorate, run by the IDF and the Israeli Ministry of Defense. “When I saw the trend, I was certain that tanks and APCs would not find their way out of service so quickly due to the simple reason that the technologies that were intended to serve light vehicles did not exist. In order to have effective shielding against a kinetic threat, a hollow charge, or roadside explosive charges, you need to invest considerable funds. “It’s no coincidence that the IDF’s Kela multi-year plan, which was sup-

was cancelled. The Future Combat System project also fell apart in the US, and other projects that were headed in the same direction were either cancelled or postponed. The US Army updated its plans long ago, and it seems that for the moment, the use of tanks and heavy platforms will continue, at least until 2050. As such, this whole concept of tanks being old-fashioned is irrelevant.” Kinetics specializes in the development of air filtration NBC protection systems for the IDF’s armored vehicles. It also provides different solutions such as Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning systems, personal air conditioners attached to the suits of armored IDF fighters, and auxiliary power units (APU) for AFVs. Kinetics also provides various filtration and air-conditioning systems to the US Army.

Ventilation and NBC-Filtration System for Tents and Army Camps

Engine Air Cleaners for Tanks and Heavy Duty Vehicles

systems for the MRAP vehicles used in Iraq. Although it developed APU models that were supposed to be installed on Abrams tanks, this decision was recently reexamined. “We’re using our qualitative capabilities in the field of lifesupport systems and putting them to use in simpler applications for ground instruments in the tactical field and for combat-supporting logistic vehicles.” Nir says. How has the departure of US forces from Iraq affected Kinetics? “We aren’t fond of this development, but that’s the reality, and as a result, we've approached other markets. We haven't given up on the US market, it remains a very important market for us, but we’re active in other areas today and are going to places where we never set foot before. 

MAY 2012






Pictures from the Battlefield Video receivers assist tanks in corroborating targets in an urban environment By Moriya Ben-Yosef


he Israeli company Nir Or has completed development on a compact video recording and documentation system for tanks and other ground vehicles. Based in Rosh Ha’ayin, Nir Or produces electronic security equipment, including displays, recorders, video management systems, mission computers, and control systems. Its displays are mounted on the Merkava Namer APC and its products are operational in the IDF and in the Indian, British, and US armed forces. Nir Or’s CEO, Alon Moscona, says

Business News


that the new system is designed for training exercises and real-time documentation for corroboration in battle when fighting forces must obtain target verification before firing on a building suspected of harboring the enemy. An examination of the video film can assist them in this task. “Tanks are not always equipped with observation equipment to back up the troops and corroborate targets. However, this is a very important element in urban warfare,” explains Moscona. “Real-time photos and documentation also enable the soldiers to correct firing deviations.” 

Recent Transactions

Elta Systems will supply radar and satellite communication systems to the militaries of three Asian countries at a scope of $106 million.

Israel’s Government Companies Authority is expected to approve Rafael’s decision to acquire 40% of shares of the Brazilian aerospace company, GESPI.

Elta Systems will supply an ELM-2022A naval radar to a foreign client at a scope of $35 million. Cellcom won the Ministry of Defense tender to replace MIRS for cellular services to the IDF for the next three years, with an option for a seven-year extension.

SpiderTech, which developed and manufactured early warning systems for perimeter defense, will be dismantled in the wake of financial difficulties.

MAY 2012

Plasan Sasa Ltd. has acquired Artis LLC, a US company that manufactures active defense systems for

light tactical vehicles. Rafael will provide Spike missiles to Germany at a scope of hundreds of millions of dollars through its German subsidiary, EuroSpike GmbH. The Indian Army has announced that it intends to acquire another 250 upgraded Arjun tanks equipped with the IAI-produced LAHAT missile. Ashot Ashkelon signed a contract for the production of propulsion systems for AFVs

with a European company at a scope of €12 million. The contract will last for six years, and has an option for expanding to an additional €7 million. Beth-El Industries sold an NBC-protected field hospital to the Royal Netherlands Army at a scope of more than $20 million. Elbit Systems will provide radar simulation systems that will be installed onboard the IAF’s new Italian M-346 trainer aircraft.

“Independency of Energy” Save the date 20.06.2012 Nation-E, a World Leader in Energy Storage, Will present the first time in the world the “Angel System”

MAY 2012

49, For more Information please contact:, Official distributor of Kokam, Official distributor of RouteJD


“We Took Airborne Sensors and Adapted Them to Ground Combat”


rigadier General (Res.) Shmuel Yachin, special advisor for Ground Systems at Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) explains that “Wars have changed from large conflicts and fronts massed with thousands of tanks and planes to regular armies that fight guerilla forces.” At first glance, the term “ground systems” in a company such as IAI seems like an oxymoron. However, ground systems have become one of IAI’s main areas of development. Yachin, a former commander in the Armored Corps and head of R&D in the IDF, set up the Ground Systems unit two years ago. Today, the unit coordinates an array of ground warfare projects. “Hybrid war” is a relatively new term that blends conventional all-out war with a small, local, anti-guerilla war. “Armies find themselves in ground combat against an enemy hidden in the civilian population, in cities and villages, without any frontlines. This calls for a radically new way of thinking.

At IAI, we took all of the technological foundations that we developed for aerial systems and began adapting them to the new demands of ground fighting,” explains Yachin. How does the changed nature of war affect the needs of commanders in the field? “In the new type of war, military frameworks are at most, the size of brigades,” says Yachin. “However, battalions and brigades have to be provided with more fighting equipment. They have to be able to identify and eliminate targets directly and in real time, without the cumbersome mediation of middlemen. Battalion and brigade commanders need autonomous equipment capable of supplying instantaneous precision fire. “Everyone knows that investing in ground forces is imperative,” says Yachin. He immediately adds that according to recent estimates, global investment in ground armies will exceed $300 billion in the coming years. “Half of this will be invested in the US, but what’s left is an astronomical sum.” IAI is interested in entering this burgeoning market. “IAI has a great deal of technology suitable for ground forces. The time has come to make use of it and reap the dividends of the market,” declares Yachin. When we discuss ground warfare, the question always asked is, which is more important – movement or fire? Artillery was established to integrate the two, but today this is not enough because the situation has changed. A company or battalion commander no longer identifies a threat and requests fire support from an artillery battery in the rear via a liaison

located at the highest level. Today, officers on the tactical level must be able to call for fire support autonomously. The tactical units – battalions and brigades – need sensors to identify threats. We’ve taken the sensors that IAI developed for aerial use and adapted them to the needs of tactical ground units.” Herein lies the catch. A fighting force cannot absorb and process information from multiple sensors while engaged in combat. IAI solved this problem (originally for the IAF) by developing “data fusion.” This is information that is gathered and processed into a clear, uniform

The Jumper Photo: IAI

Shmuel Yachin

Photo: IAI

Brigadier General (Res.) Shmuel Yachin discusses “hybrid war” and the strategy of IAI’s new ground fighting unit By Arie Egozi


MAY 2012

Photo: IAI Initial exposure of TopGUun winged shell test, March 2012

picture that is then directly conveyed to computer screens in the field. Some of the most sophisticated data fusion systems in the world were developed by IAI’s subsidiary, Elta. Brig. Gen. Yachin describes a combat scenario to illustrate his point. A tank company is under missile attack. The first tank is hit and the others are in serious danger. The company commander receives processed information and knows exactly the source of the lethal missile fire. With this new equipment, counter fire will be returned within seconds. The company commander just has to mark the grid coordinates on the computerized map in front of him, and the enemy missile squad will be engulfed in flames from the closest friendly fire source. Who unleashes the counterfire? Who decides that a high explosive shell should be used? The integrated network system determines these parameters and frees the field commander from having to request fire support from the brigade or division.

A shell with wings There are two IAI ground division projects designed to supply fast and accurate artillery fire. The first, known as “Jumper,” is a revolutionary autonomous missile that

can hit a target with pinpoint accuracy at distances of up to 50 km. The system contains eight canistered missiles and one C4 (Command, Control, Communications, and Computers) system, and operates without a special launch platform or crew. The Jumper is deployed in the field and the missiles are launched vertically in any direction according to a target’s location, which is fed into the control system. The missile, 180 cm long and 15 cm in diameter, is equipped with GPS and an Inertial Navigation System in case the satellite system is neutralized. The Jumper’s immediate availability provides ground forces with autonomous precision fire at any time, day or night, and in all weather conditions. IAI’s corporate video for global marketing shows various sensors mounted on miniUAVs and UASs. These maneuver with the ground forces and enable the commander to lay down fire without recourse to mediation through other command elements. According to Yachin, “The US came up with the same idea in their Future Combat Systems (FCS) project. The project was canceled a few years ago because of technological complications and exorbitant costs. We developed a faster system at a lower cost that is now ready for marketing.”

The other IAI ground division project is the TopGun course correction fuze. TopGun converts an ordinary 155 mm artillery shell into a lethal PGM by attaching fins to the fuze to guide the shell to the target. In a recent test in Israel, the fins opened successfully. The US also tried such a solution, but each unit came with a price tag of $70,000, which was too steep, even for the US. IAI does not develop new PGMs from scratch. Instead, it prefers to take a regular 155 mm artillery shell and replace the fuze with a GPS-based internal guidance system that doesn’t significantly alter the firing routines. “When a regular artillery shell is fired at a range of 40 km, deviation is significant; when a shell is fired with the TopGun guidance system, the accuracy is incredible,” insists Yachin. “The new systems narrow the ground fire cycle to five minutes at most, instead of the usual twenty to thirty minutes.” IAI’s special Ground Systems advisor says that his unit is hard at work on a long list of ground products, some even in the field of robotics. Some systems that IAI is developing are still classified. Perhaps they will be unveiled in the coming years. Then again, perhaps not. 

MAY 2012



“Logistics Will Continue Functioning Under Fire”

Colonel Ofer Wolf Photo: Meir Azulay

Brigadier General Ofer Wolf, director of the IDF’s Technology and Logistics Branch, reveals how the branch will function during a heavy missile and rocket attack


ne of the most disconcerting issues facing the IDF is the possibility of heavy rocket and missile barrages that are expected in Israel’s next war. Since the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Hezbollah has increased its rocket and missile arsenal by 500% (most estimates put the number at no less than 50,000 projectiles). Syria and the Palestinian organizations in the Gaza Strip have also stockpiled vast quantities of weapons. “We are aware of the significance of the threat. The need to guarantee operational continuity under intense fire is a key factor in our strategic planning, just as training and replenishment are,” says Brigadier General Ofer Wolf, head of the IDF’s Technology and Logistics Branch. Wolf began his career in the IDF as an officer in the elite Sayeret Matkal reconnaissance unit. After studying engineering, he entered the field of logistics. “Our task is to maintain an emergency logistics layout so that the IDF can continue to function under any condition,” states Wolf. “Military logistics is the art of moving material and forces. This includes the transportation of supplies and troops, medical evacuations, hospitalizations, weapons maintenance, construction, and infrastructures – all vital elements in combat scenarios. What practical preparations have been made to guarantee the continuous functioning of the logistics layout under


MAY 2012

fire? “First, it is important to disperse the inventory and not to put all our eggs in one basket. Until a few years ago, we tended to stockpile equipment in a central warehouse. Today, certain equipment, such as spare parts for tanks and vehicles, is dispersed throughout the country. “Another principle that we’re working on is redundancy. For every logistics line, we have an alternative solution, some of them based on civilian resources that the IDF mobilizes in an emergency. Redundancy enables functional continuity if any of the logistics centers are temporarily paralyzed. “Another modus operandi is enhanced protection – especially for military bases that have to operate 24/7. “Maintaining underground structures is also an area that has to be advanced. I believe that a certain percentage of our material, and even part of our production layout, has to be kept in underground bunkers in case of an emergency. The ideal scenario is for a vehicle to enter the underground warehouse, load up with equipment or ammunition, and continue on with its assignment. Many armies work like this. We’ve drawn up a plan for underground. It now depends on getting the necessary budget in the next multiyear plan. “Other elements that guarantee continued functioning are improved personal protection for logistics forces in the field and, above all, strong morale and units that are trained to operate under fire.”

Lessons from Lebanon Wolf explains that in every war scenario, the IDF relies on both military and national stockpiles. “These are reserves of aviation fuel, gasoline, diesel fuel, and food. We keep only enough for a certain number of days of combat. In an emergency, the IDF will mobilize all civilian vehicles, trucks, and

motorcycles, and even cargo ships.” In the beginning of the Second Lebanon War, the supplies sank below today’s red line. How would you assess the IDF’s current emergency stockpiles? “One of the many lessons from the war was the need to bolster our reserve supplies. After exhaustive work, I can say that today, in the first of half of 2012, the IDF is in the best position it has ever been in from the point of view of logistics supplies.” Does this imply that the reserves could deplete again? “Unless the necessary funds for maintaining the reserves are forthcoming, then yes. It takes five or six years to build a stockpile; to deplete it takes only half a year. Improving the situation of an individual item, such as a tank motor, takes at least two years from the moment you define the need until the day the item arrives. “If the situation on the eve of the Second Lebanon War is repeated, we’ve already defined the red lines. Dropping below the emergency level of a critical item requires approval by an officer with the rank of brigadier general or higher.” The US Congress announced that the US plans to increase the value of its emergency stockpile in Israel from $800 million to $1.2 billion. Is Israel also relying on this emergency equipment? “In an emergency we depend on every reserve supply. Our partners in the US understand our needs. They can inform us of what is available, how we can receive the supplies, and how to convert the equipment that is already in Israel.” Is the Technology and Logistics Branch taking into account the possibility that the southwestern front (Egypt) could remain a military threat in the wake of the recent revolution? Wouldn’t fighting in Sinai demand very long supply lines? “We are examining the implications of all the regional developments,” Wolf concludes. 

MAY 2012



Smartphones in the Battlefield Elta is developing a smartphone for the modern battlefield


srael Aerospace Industries (IAI) is entering the mobile smartphone field. Elta, an IAI subsidiary, has developed a system that makes use of 4th generation cellular technology for military use. Elta’s Director of Communications, Shalom Natan, explains that smartphones are excellent for transferring visual information. “The new cellular generation is preferable to any other technology in the tactical field.” Elta has developed an entire line of products that utilize cellular technology to aid tactical units in the battlefield. This way, a commander can receive UAV photography or information from the headquarters to a special cellular device at data transfer rates that are similar to smartphones. Oded Nehmoni, Elta’s communications product line manager, revealed that an external company is manufacturing military devices for the system, which are currently undergoing development. According to Nehmoni, “The products are very similar to civilian smartphones, and they have many traits that make them useful for soldiers.” The device in question is similar in size to those common in civilian use. However, it also includes traits that make it suitable for military tactical purposes. A civilian cellular network is comprised of many cells, each with an antenna that transfers information from a portable device to an entire network. In a combat zone, there are no permanent stations deployed in an area. With the use of Elta’s system, an entire military infrastructure can move along with the ground forces. Many militaries, including the IDF, have two main approaches to tactical communications. The first is based on broadband communication devices, and the second is based on proven civilian technology. “It is better to use systems based on civilian technology, since this technology has already been proven. This technology is also constantly advancing due to the widespread global use of cellphones.”


MAY 2012

 A C2 system by General Dynamics

Shalom Natan explains that the military can also use the civilian cellular system in various activity sections to decrease costs. Elta recently demonstrated the capabilities of the TAC4G system that is based on 4th generation Long Term Evolution (LTE) cellular technology. The proposed system includes all the measures required for security, and can be integrated into civilian operator infrastructure that expands the end user’s coverage, while significantly reducing deployment costs at the same time. Aside from civilian infrastructure, the building blocks of the designated system include four core components. These are an LTE communication core (Network Core Switches), LTE base stations, end units (modems and smartphones), and applications (common or designated). Recently, Elta successfully demonstrated the capabilities of the tactical communications system that includes support for applications that demand especially high bit rates, support for a multitude of unique applications, and maximum survivability. The demonstration proved the system’s feasibility in military applications. According to Shalom Natan, the system allows for advanced communication capabilities, starting with the forces operating in the field and reaching the highest com-

Photo: General Dynamics

mand echelons. The system also provides an efficient and advanced response to the requirements needed for future battlefields and their numerous communication applications and challenges. He added that the capabilities of the system provide end users with high data transfer rates of up to 100 megabytes per second. “A high-definition black and white video has a size of about five megabytes – a figure that illustrates the capabilities.” Elta officials say that the smartphone, which will run on the Android operating system, will offer built-in applications for various uses and all clients will be able to design their own applications. “There will even be a military version of Outlook. The intent is that soldiers use to civilian smartphones will easily know how to operate the system.” The army smartphone is incursion-proof, constructed for daily operational use at the tactical level, and can connect to larger communication systems. “Operational considerations were taken into account during the design phase. The cellular system has many base stations, which naturally increases its survivability,” Natan says. “Operational considerations were taken into account during the design phase.” IAI will have working prototypes of the combat smartphones at the start of 2013, and will then begin to market the product. 

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MAY 2012

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The Iron Dome Layout Will Increase to Ten Batteries According to updated plans, six new batteries will be operated by reserve units


MAY 2012

Iron Dome

Photo: IDF Spokesperson


he Israeli Air Force will soon start to retrain reserve forces to man new Iron Dome batteries. According to updated plans, six of the ten planned batteries will utilize the IDF’s reserve forces, and four batteries will employ regular forces. Developed by Rafael, the Iron Dome went operational in 2011, and has since successfully intercepted dozens of rockets launched from Gaza towards southern Israeli towns. The system works by launching interceptor missiles at every incoming rocket. Its current interception rate, standing at approximately 90%, surpassed all expectations. Comprised of a search and guidance radar (produced by Elta, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries), a control center, and interception missiles, the missiles are launched only if the system’s computations show that enemy rockets are expected to land in areas predesignated as protected ones. The IAF’s air defense layout was initially equipped with two batteries funded by Israel, and was later upgraded to an additional two batteries that were funded by the US (so far, the US has funded construction for four Iron Dome batteries). The US Congress recently began the process to approve an additional grant of $600 million to fund four supplementary batteries and a substantial quantity of interception missiles. Under the assumption that the special budget will be approved, the IDF is preparing to operate a total of ten Iron Dome batteries. Due to a shortage in regular manpower, four batteries (one of them a training battery that will be transferred to defense areas in emergencies) will be based on regular manpower, and six more

on reserve soldiers. The IAF will soon conduct retraining exercises for soldiers that will be transferred to the Iron Dome unit from other reserve units. It should be noted that according to IDF scenarios, they require thirteen to fourteen

Iron Dome batteries to protect IAF bases, strategic infrastructure sites, and central cities in southern and northern Israel. However, at this time, due to shortages in funding and manpower, there is no plan to acquire this number of batteries. 

Air Force to Expand its Sub-Space Operations

Outgoing IAF Commander, Major General Ido Nechushtan Photo: Meir Azulay

The development of tools for altitudes between 100-150 thousand feet is one of a number of IAF recommendations for 2030


he Israeli Air Force will increase its investments in the expanse known as “sub-space,” which is the altitude range between 100-150 thousand feet above ground. This is one of many conclusions a think tank that worked with the IAF for several months made after examining the corps’ future development directions for 2030. The committee operated at the initiative of Air Force Commander, Major General Ido Nechushtan, who will conclude his role at the end of May and will be replaced by Major General Amir Eshel. “These conclusions were made to better the air force,” Major General Nechushtan said with regards to the recommendations. Both young and veteran air force commanders worked with the think tank

on the recommendations. According to Nechushtan, courses of action were summarized within several central fields. The team that focused on advanced future technologies reached the conclusion that civilian companies will likely develop most of the technologies needed by the corps. The team listed developments that should be focused upon, as there is no chance they would be developed for civilian use. With regards to the sub-space field, they determined that there is considerable potential at altitudes between 100 and 150 thousand feet – an altitude at which the IAF does not currently operate. The assessment is that it would be possible to develop aircraft that could remain at those altitudes, while equipped with payloads

and communication measures. With regards to the cyber field, the think tank determined that the IAF needs to improve the codes it utilizes by at least one tier, if not more. The committee assessed that even with future technological measures at its disposal, decisions within the IAF in 2030 will remain within the domain of humans, and will not be made by computers or machines. As such, decision-supporting tools must be developed to help commanders and pilots cope with vast amounts of information. The IAF reached the conclusion that it must invest in technological education in Israel so that in the future, it can recruit soldiers with an even greater technological background than present-day recruits. 

MAY 2012



Elbit’s Special Laboratory to Protect Offshore Energy Deposits The laboratory – unveiled here for the first time – is one area of Elbit’s enormous investments for measures geared toward protecting offshore energy deposits. This field is rapidly developing throughout the world, and in Israel in particular, especially now that huge gas reserves have been discovered off Israel’s coast

Silver Marlin USV Photo: Elbit Systems

By Arie Egozi

Protective rings Azarel Ram, head of Naval & Maritime Solutions Business Line at Elbit Systems, explains, "The defense of infrastructure facilities on the coast and in the country's economic waters has received top priority. Terrorist threats aimed at these sensitive installations helped direct the attention of countries and companies needing security. The far offshore location of the rigs complicates the problem, but we've designed numerous solutions that are generating interest." Elbit's laboratory is developing concentric circles of security that are designed to identify a threat from as


MAY 2012

great a distance as possible and deal with it accordingly. The current view is that sensitive facilities must have alert systems installed during their construction stages in order to prevent an enemy from exploiting the interim period. According to Ram, Elbit is able to provide a comprehensive solution to the problem because it develops and produces UAVs, USVs, and day and night sensors. In a precautionary measure against Hezbollah's overt threats, Israel is examining the financial cost associated with defending drilling rigs and production facilities in the

Mediterranean. Clients touring Elbit's laboratory are presented all the measures and interlinks, including computerized simulations that enable plans to be drawn up for the facilities' protection. The greatest potential, Ram explains, is in the global market. Listing potentially interested regions, he explains that Brazil and Mexico discovered offshore gas and oil, countries bordering the South China Sea are contesting ownership over huge underwater deposits, and Equatorial Guinea and Angola also need to protect their maritime assets. "There's another problem in West Africa with pirates threatening to sabotage

Photo: Elbit Systems Naval defense laboratory

oil rigs and offshore drilling unless their demands are met. Failure to do so can incur exorbitant financial loss and cause ecological havoc,� Ram explains. He also believes the North Sea and the Mediterranean (not only Israel's economic waters) are potential markets. "The client approaches us with a problem and describes it in detail and we provide the answers. The problem looks different after you draw up a comprehensive solution that integrates optical detection systems, reconnaissance USVs (Elbit's Silver Marine), and remote-controlled weapons systems installed onboard vessels," Ram notes. Ram says that countries do not want foreign parties to carry out their military or paramilitary operations, but they do want monitoring and warning systems to prevent ecological and financially catastrophic oil spills. "Clients are shown our solutions and together we

build a defense strategy based on our experience."

Not only Elbit Other Israeli companies are also increasing their maritime security activity. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is adapting many of its systems to offshore protection. Elta, an IAI subsidiary, manufactures state-of-theart naval radars. IAI's Tamam Division produces longrange surveillance systems for ships and aircraft. Some are now operational in the Israeli Navy and other fleets around the world. IAI recently revealed its ETOP (Electric Tethered Observation Platform) that hovers at a predetermined altitude for an extended length of time and photographs everything in sight. This system will also be marketed for maritime defense.

An Israeli start-up, Sky Sapience, recently revealed the HoverMast – a lightweight, tethered, long-range surveillance platform designed for maritime facilities. Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is developing products to protect offshore natural resources. The Protector USV is already operational in Israel and other navies. Rafael also produces an extended model that is 11 m in length and carries out security assignments on oil rigs for a Central American company. The company also manufactures nonoptical sensors capable of detecting maritime threats. Rear Admiral (Res.) Noam Feig, former deputy commander of the Israeli Navy, believes that the energy companies should pay for part of the defense systems surrounding their drilling and production platforms. These preventative measures can stop seaborne terrorists from ascending a platform or destroying it. However, the state will have to provide the system with its outermost ring of protection against missile and rocket threats, as the layout and logistics in this ring exceed the capabilities of even the largest private company. According to Feig, given the very tangible threats to offshore facilities, a carefully planned defense doctrine must be implemented. "Diverse countermeasures can help and Israel has developed many of them, but a doctrine is needed to define the threats and the steps needed to neutralize them." 

MAY 2012



Energy Resource Protection Leo Gleser takes great pleasure in working in South America, but his HLS company, ISDS, is expanding its enterprises around the world


MAY 2012

Leo Gleser (second from right) Photo: ISDS


ne of the International Security and Defense Systems (ISDS) group's latest projects is in Honduras producing electronic handcuffs for monitoring prisoners and criminals in home detention. However, this project is not the main activity of the company whose Israeli headquarters are located in the agricultural settlement of Nir Zvi. ISDS’s chief area of activity is providing security for deep sea drilling platforms, civilian nuclear reactors, vessels on international shipping lanes, and other HLS projects. "There are several stages when supplying oil and gas. First you have to search, drill, and extract," explains Leo Gleser, president and part owner of ISDS. "Then you have to tranfer the material to fuel storage tanks and sell it to the end client. We are involved in each stage. Eighty percent of today's oil and gas production is offshore. Mexico's energy deposits, for example, are situated in three main centers 90 miles from the coast." What can you tell us about the latest technological innovations in energy resource protection? "The technology is based primarily on command and control systems – not only in security and intelligence domains, but also in emergency situations. Some emergency situations are weather-related, such as 150-200 km/hour hurricane winds. You have to be on top of what's happening because the security system behaves very differently durring hurricane season. Is ISDS interested in protecting the drilling platforms for the gas deposits discovered off Israel's coast? "We would be very happy to, but we don’t regard Israel as a source of our activity. This is not to depreciate Israel's energy reserves, but we're more interested in the global market. The security here in

Israel will have to be very tight." In the field of nuclear reactors, ISDS has set up fences, monitors, and surveillance devices based on software-integrated systems in Mexico, Brazil, the US, and other countries. "The Mexican facility is considered the most secure in the world," says Gleser. "The earthquake that ravaged the nuclear reactor in Japan last year woke everyone to the new measures that have to be taken." Fun in Brazil Leo Gleser is one of the leading figures in Israel's HLS industry. His pistol collection is truly impressive, and his Spanish accent gives away his Argentine origins. He makes no secret of the fact that he's especially fond of doing business (and spending time) in Latin American countries. Lately, he's been very active in Brazil, competing for security tenders for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Games and 2016 Olympic Games (ISDS is a partner in the Qylatron system that will simultaneously scan five handbags at the entranceway to

each of the World Cup stadiums). "In Brazil, we teamed up with a local company and incorporated various technologies, including some from Israel," says Gleser. "Brazil has started upgrading its border security and infrastructure protection; its transportation systems, subways, and communication networks will all be modernized. This is just part of the big project in Brazil. The Olympic Games and FIFA World Cup are only the start. You have to reach certain standards in order to host the games, but what really generates Brazil's economic growth are its energy assets of oil and gas. "Brazil's biggest project is electricity production through the exploitation of the Amazon's waters that border Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. We planned the entire security layout for this project. "I love being in South America. I think it's the most pleasant region in the world to do business, but this doesn’t stop us from working in China, India, Kenya, and South Africa, and being involved in projects in Australia, Europe, and many other countries." 

MAY 2012



The Walls Have Ears Big brother sees all and now hears all. Surveillance cameras with audio capabilities are being installed around the world By Arie Egozi


hether you are buying a pair of shoes, buying petrol at the gas station, or standing in line at the check-in counter at the airport—somebody is watching. Every single movement is recorded and saved on servers and computer systems. When you receive service in Israel or anywhere else in the world, there is a good chance that you are being followed. It began as a means to thwart crime and terrorism, and has since evolved to petty theft prevention, as well as a means to improve marketing strategies. Thousands of elec-

Will we lose our right for privacy in the name of national security?

The US trauma In many ways, the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center was a pivotal point. It gave the US government justification to infringe on its citizens’ privacy, and many countries have followed suit. In the aftermath of that traumatic morning, many surveillance systems were, and still are, set-up around the world, tracking every movement. Entire cities are monitored by a citywide network of thousands of cameras,

Other cities are following suit. The Los Angeles Police Department has plans to install an initial 30 such listening systems around the city. In Tijuana, Mexico, 400 listening systems are already in place monitoring the city. San Francisco, New Orleans, and Atlanta will likely be the next to follow. Some companies are developing microphones that will be paired with CCTV systems that monitor, for example, ATM withdrawal transactions. Banks believe that listening in on conversations held at ATM’s, including phone calls done by the person withdrawing the money, will curb the fraudulent use of credit cards. However, the system will not be able to distinguish between an illegal exchange and a legitimate conversation, resulting in the recording of private affairs.

Photo: Dreamstime

Data Retrieval

tronic eyes and ears follow our every move and are becoming sharper and keener all the time. These systems monitor just about everything, and now they are listening in as well. We can’t always tell if one of their electronic eyes or ears are directed at us, but if they are, it’s because a computer instructed it to do so. These new ears are sensitive microphones. Where do we draw the line between crime prevention, HLS, and intelligence gathering for military purposes? Many believe that we are nearing the day when intelligence agencies will track our every move.


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including public buildings, and airports. They record and catalogue 24 hours a day, enabling quick data retrieval. Cameras are now being fitted with sensitive microphones as part of their upgrade. Forty such microphones have been positioned by the Chicago Police Department in various parts of the city so that the sound of gunfire can be identified and located for a quick response. With the city’s murder rate dropping to its lowest in years, Chicago police chiefs have become adamant supporters of this technology, stating that surveillance cameras have reduced crime and enabled police to confiscate 12,000 illegal firearms.

Israel’s Nice Systems was a pioneer in developing systems capable of recording a large number of CCTVs, but more importantly, allowing for the quick retrieval of their data for different uses. The company also supplies systems that identify developing events and relays the information to relevant security personnel. Nice is not in the market of audio surveillance, though they have been approached by some of their customers—both new and old—to upgrade their current systems by adding voice recording capabilities. “In recent years, microphone technology has advanced to the point where it can single out a conversation from background noise,” says an expert in the field. “Directional microphones can now record under difficult conditions.” In order to use the audio recordings, systems similar to those developed by Nice will have to be employed. This will allow the retrieval of an audio recording according to its specific location on a time line and then crosschecked with other recordings. 

The Institute for National Security Studies Is Pleased to Announce The Fifth Annual International Conference

SeArChIng For opporTunITIeS

In A TurbulenT envIronmenT With the participation of - among others - the Prime Minister, the Defense Minister and the IDF Chief of Staff

29-30 may, 2012 At INSS, 40 Haim Levanon Street, Ramat Aviv

Participation by invitation only

MAY 2012



A Comprehensive Intelligence Picture Elbit Systems is expanding its development of systems for “terrain dominance,” says senior company manager, “S.”

The Israel-Egypt border fence

Photo: AP

By Arie Egozi


lbit Systems is expanding the development of its "terrain dominance" concept to provide total control over intelligence in a predesignated area. The latest breakthroughs in terrain dominance will debut at the Eruosatory Land Defense and Security Exhibition in Paris (June 11-15, 2012). According to Brigadier General (Res.) “S,” the head of Elbit's operational features, terrain dominance is designed for intelligence superiority in a particular area. Its two main goals are border control between countries and controling an area in which everything must be monitored. “S” explains that in the case of border control areas, such as the US-Canada border, or the US-Mexico border, illegal immigration is a major problem. However, in Israel's case, real-time intelligence on across-the-border activity is a matter of life or death. In combat, "the commander of a


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battalion or any other level has to know what is happening close to his base or where his force is camped out. This is when terrain dominance helps him," says “S.” "It may seem simple, but receiving and transmitting detailed information is a

complex task. It's not enough to station a lookout or set up a night ambush when trying to receive a warning of an encroaching threat. A continuous struggle exists between the sensors and the enemy that wants to surprise you, who also knows that electronic eyes

Underground terrain dominance Elbit Systems’ new SAND (Smart All-Terrain Networked Detectors) system is capable of tracking the movement of people and various vehicles in all terrain types and over large areas. The system is comprised of a series of sensors placed in the ground that enables a management center to process all the incoming information. The sensors are connected with a central unit via a wireless network, without the need for permanent infrastructures. Each central unit can be connected with up to 100 sensors, depending on necessity. The sensor system is placed manually in the field, and it can last up to ten years.

comme n tary

and ears are scouring the area."

Bird's eye view According to “S,” the terrain dominance concept is based on various sensors used on numerous platforms that create a larger picture. It warns of multiple threats, prioritizes them, and then suggests countermeasures. This is one of the reasons Elbit offers its UAVs, which are equipped with multi-sensory systems. These optical systems are installed on small or medium-sized UAVs that are capable of producing visual information obtained from ten different "straws" (angles). There's more to Elbit's terrain dominance concept. Various intelligence persons across all echelons need an up-to-date picture, but also one that shows the same point at different time intervals. This is where Elbit's system steps in and transmits photos to a ground center for immediate use. If necessary, the system instantly retrieves images of the same area taken hours or minutes before. This is necessary since comparing details is often critical for operating forces. "When a terrorist squad is planning to launch a rocket or missile, the terrain dominance system spots the perpetrators and then various means can be used to eliminate the threat. However, if the system retrieves pictures of everything that happened in the area prior to detection, then the force commander can attack the enemy's base and eliminate additional squads and stockpiles of weapons," explains “S.”

Seeing, listening Elbit's concept also employs an array of ground sensors. "Today we have acoustic and seismic sensors capable of detecting movement at relatively long ranges and filling in the picture that a commander needs to achieve optimal terrain dominance. The ground sensors spot anything that moves, and when movement is detected, other sensors are immediately activated and every optical ‘straw’ on the airborne payload zooms in for details to determine the gravity of the threat," says “S.” Elbit engineers believe that terrain dominance's commercial potential lies in border defense. 

Colonel (Res.) Atai Shelach The Return of the Western Front The entire Middle East is in a state of turmoil. Taboos, certainties, and assurances that have been rock-solid for decades are being put to the test. Sooner or later, the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty will have to be reevaluated. While quite a few of the understandings between Egypt and Israel on economic and geopolitical issues are being re-examined on a daily basis, the most serious issue of all is security on the southern front, should relations deteriorate. Will the IDF be ordered to operate in Sinai again if this happens? At present, this scenario seems far-fetched, perhaps even extreme. However, a realistic look at events in the region requires that we take this option into account. Anything less would be a mistake that could have devastating results. Therefore, we have to readdress long-held axioms and examine the strategic warnings that have already been sounded. What are the implications of this scenario and what is demanded of the IDF? Military action on the western front refers to an all-out war in the Sinai Peninsula. A major IDF operation would require that long-forgotten skills and capabilities developed in the past be revamped. True, technology has advanced substantially since the signing of the peace agreement with Egypt in 1979, especially in computers, precision guided munitions, intelligence gathering, analysis, and air, land, and sea platforms. However, the topography remains the same. Sinai is a desert with endless sand dunes and various natural obstacles. Therefore, we must be fully prepared to deal with several challenges. The IDF will have to strengthen its long-range, in-depth maneuvering capability and movement across sand-laden terrain. Lengthy supply and logistical lines will also have to be created. Will an operation in Sinai entail the construction of heavily fortified barriers, such as the Bar-Lev Line on the banks of the Suez Canal after the Six-Day War? Will such terms as “force entrenchment” at the individual level, as well as company, battalion, and even brigade level, have to be revived? The skill required to cross deep, narrow water obstacles will have to be relearned, and Sinai’s vastness will pose an array of challenges for intelligence collection. The return of skills and proficiencies is not a matter of reinventing the wheel or training from the very beginning. Rather, it is a matter of abilities from the past that must be adapted to the technologies of the present in order to answer the challenges of the future. Israel cannot remain aloof and confined to the concept that the constantly changing rules of the game will afford it enough time to prepare should the peace agreements collapse. On the contrary – because of the fluidity of events, Israel must strive to attain proficiencies and abilities suited to the requirements of the western sector. These military capabilities may be likened to a great “Rubicon” – one that has to be first established and then crossed. Preparations have to be made at all levels of force buildup for the day of reckoning, and its better to make these changes sooner, rather than later.

Colonel (Res.) Atai Shelah began his military career in the Engineering Corps where he rose to command the elite combat engineering unit Yahalom. His last post in the IDF was head of the Warfare Doctrine Department.

MAY 2012



Elections in Egypt: The Future Doesn’t Look Good for Israel

Muslim Brotherhood Parliament members Photo: AP

Less than a month after stormy demonstrations and relentless international pressure, the long-standing president of Egypt and friend of Israel, Hosni Mubarak, was forced to step down. The revolution that took place over a year ago signaled the return of the the Muslim Brotherhood to the center of Egypt's political arena, who had waited for this turn of events for over sixty years


he Muslim Brotherhood's first test in the political arena was met with great success. It won 47% of the vote in elections for the lower house (People's Assembly, Majlis alSha'ab). Together with the representatives from the Salafi Movement (radical Islamic fundamentalists), they have 70% of the seats in the Egyptian Parliament. Following this landslide victory, the Islamic party decided to run a candidate in the upcoming presidential elections. The Brotherhood's decision to reach beyond parliament and take up the challenge for presidency is the clearest expression of its confidence in its strength and ambition to control as many power centers in the country in as short a time as possible. This new ambition is very different from its traditional approach of caution and patience. The roots of the movement's success (the Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928) lies in its integration of religion, social welfare, and politics in society and


MAY 2012

state. The main source of its strength in the socio-economic sphere comes from Islamic preaching (dawa) in Egypt and abroad (it is through dawa that new members and supporters are recruited). Since its inception, the Muslim Brotherhood has been fervently antiZionist and anti-Israeli. It fought against the Yishuv (pre-state Israel) and participated in the Arab military invasion of Israel on May 15, 1948 – one day after Ben-Gurion declared independence. It has consistently and aggressively denounced Israel's right to exist, opposed the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty, and rejected any compromise with Israel. The Brotherhood's military addition to the Arab campaign against Israel in 1948 was negligible, but it did contribute ideologically and through consciousness-building. Its members' enlistment in the holy war (jihad) against Israel proved that the movement could translate its words into action. When Muslim Brotherhood members were in Israeli territory during and after the

War of Independence (1948-1949), they laid the groundwork for the movement's rise in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip. Hamas, the Palestinian Sunni Islamic political party that was established in the Gaza Strip in 1978, is an outgrowth of the Brotherhood's efforts to lay roots in Palestinian society. The Muslim Brotherhood's parliamentary victory and its rise to political power in Egypt will undoubtedly impact Egypt's relations with Israel, as well as Egypt's relations with Hamas. From Israel's point of view, the future does not look good. The Muslim Brotherhood does not seem to have abandoned its goal to transform Egypt into a fundamentalist Islamic society and state that is ideologically opposed to Israel's existence. At present, it walks a pragmatic line in order to safeguard its achievements. The empowerment of radical Islam in Egypt can only undermine the fragile and complex relationship it has with Israel, and initiate an anti-Israeli policy, even if the formal peace treaty remains intact. 

The Eighth Annual National Security Conference Air Power Challenges in a Changing Strategic Environment The Fisher Institute for Air & Space Strategic Studies will hold The Eighth Annual National Security Conference: Air Power Challenges in a Changing Strategic Environment, On Tuesday, May 22, 2012, IAF Center, 15 Jabotinsky St., Herzliya

The Fisher Institute For Air & Space Strategic Studies (cc)

In the program: the Geopolitical Framework, Revival of the Symmetric Conflict, Strategic and Operational Challenges, Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya, the New Middle East, Long Range Operations, Annual Address by the IAF Commander. The conference will be conducted in Hebrew and English, a simultaneous translation to English will be provided.

Registration at: For inquiries call +972-9-9510260 MAY 2012 67


“Fighting the Next Cyber War” Major General (Ret.) Eitan Ben Eliyahu, Colonel (Res.) Rami Efrati, and Major General (Ret.) Yitzhak Ben Yisrael discuss the possibility of a cyber war in anticipation of the International Cyber Warfare Conference


magine this scenario: operators at the police emergency hotline have no clue as to what is happening – all of the lights on the panel are flashing wildly and the telephones are ringing non-stop. On the other side of the line, the operators hear citizens screaming, "Help! Emergency! . . . Train crash! . . . Many dead and injured!" The Ministry of Transportation is also inundated with reports that planes at BenGurion International Airport can’t take off on the busiest day of the year. The entire government convenes for an urgent meeting to determine whether Israel is under a major cyber-attack. This is only a scenario, but could it really happen? One of the problems of a cyber-attack is the difficulty in identifying the aggressor and knowing whether the attack is a minor breach or a full-scale onslaught," explains Professor Major General (Ret.) Yitzhak Ben Yisrael, one of the founders of the National Cyber Directorate and a pioneer in the cyber field in Israel. Ben Yisrael served as head


MAY 2012

of the Defense Ministry's Administration for the Development of Weapons and the Technological Industry (Mafat), and is currently the director of the Yuval Ne'eman Science, Technology & Security Workshop at Tel Aviv University. "You wake up in the morning, turn on the radio, and hear of a railroad accident with 300 casualties. It takes a while until it sinks in that this was a cyber-attack. If enemy bombers drop their payloads, the victim state immediately mobilizes the armed forces. However, in a cyberattack, it is difficult to pinpoint the source of the aggression unless you have first-rate intelligence," explains Ben Yisrael. "Last year, the president of the United States announced that a major cyberattack on his country would be considered a declaration of war. This is US policy and it makes sense, but you have to remember that during an attack, it's very hard to determine where the attack is emanating from." Along with Ben Yisrael, two other

former senior IDF officers were invited to participate in a special war games initiated by IsraelDefense . The first is former Commander of the Israeli Air Force, Major General (Ret.) Eitan Ben Eliyahu, and the second is former Head of the Central Collection Unit of the Directorate of Military Intelligence, Unit 8200, and today the assistant director of the National Cyber Directorate, Colonel (Res.) Rami Efrati. This simulation was held in anticipation of the International Cyber Warfare Conference on June 6 at Tel Aviv University. The conference is sponsored by the Yuval Ne'eman Science, Technology & Security Workshop and IsraelDefense. The conference will feature Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as the keynote speaker and will offer lectures on innovations in cyberware. "We have to distinguish between attacks on vital and non-vital systems. Even if a bank is breached, it doesn’t mean that the country collapses. On the other hand, in the case of a cyber-attack against critical

targets in wartime, such as command and control systems, the entire system becomes neutralized," Ben Yisrael says in reference to the cyber field as a combat expanse. Colonel (Res.) Rami Efrati claims that this is an extreme scenario, but one that is still possible. Based on similar events that have occurred around the world in recent years, one can see that the offensive field is intensifying, and might reach extreme scenarios like the one described. In contrast, the defensive field requires considerable improvements, since considerable activity and professional knowledge of various entities is needed in order to halt such attacks. The attacker seeks vulnerable spots existing in the system and uses them to implement action, whereas the defender must protect the "line" and see to it that no vulnerable spots exist. When discussing national defense, the line is long and wide, and professionals with considerable technological awareness and capabilities are required to handle these types of threats. Furthermore, several problems characterize the field. These include the difficulty in identifying the assaulter; the capability to glean the attacks themselves out of the broad communication information; and even realizing whether it is an attack or preparations for one. Major General (Ret.) Ben Eliyahu says that it is important to prepare for a cyber-attack by creating backup mechanisms that keep systems running in the event of a malware strike against essential infrastructures. "We're talking about a concept of backup measures built into the system that are already in the development stage. Why is this important? Because when a breakdown occurs, there's no reaction time. The victims are assisted by technological defenses, but they must also remember that when a new fighting theater develops, checklists, training schedules, and emergency procedures are needed – the items that belong to tactics, rather than the world of software. "We must organize and prepare ourselves differently until the technology guys arrive to deal with the problem with their tools." In the case of hundreds of dead in a train crash from a cyber-attack, should the injured party respond physically or

Photo: Shutterstock

The International Cyber Conference - June 6, 2012

retaliate in the cyber domain? "If we're attacked, then it's legitimate to retaliate by any means," asserts Ben Yisrael, "especially when there is loss of life. However, if there are no casualties and only computer systems are damaged, then physical retaliation is not necessary. Nevertheless, the challenge remains of whom to target. It is possible that the aggressor isn’t vulnerable in the cyber domain. Some of our enemies are third world states, and if we were to hit their cyber infrastructure, the effect would only be minimal, certainly not in proportion to the damage that was incurred. Another problem is one of deterrence, since even though we know that a specific country may be behind an attack, the perpetrators may not be operating from within that country. Syrian attackers could be sitting in Paris and attacking us from there. What should we do then? This is definitely a challenge to our deterrent capability," he explains.

War of a different kind Unlike conventional wars, an all-out cyberattack would not focus on one field. This isn’t a missile strike or ground invasion. A cyber-attack can take place simultaneously on multiple fronts. "There is no 'war' in the cyber domain. We are talking about harm to our physical life that can be compromised in the air, in the sea, or on land. Battles were once

fought with bows and arrows – now they are waged in the electronic arena. Electronics and technology can wreak havoc on modern society," declares Ben Yisrael. Another topic that the speakers raise is the need for a cyber corps or cyber headquarters to coordinate all cyber activity and conduct training exercises for coping with attacks. "Cyber technology can be more devastating than explosives and missiles," admonishes Ben Eliyahu, "but to date, no cyber command has been established." "No one denies that we're at the dawn of a new age," he adds. "Cyberspace is a major theater of operations. Despite the huge tactical and technological investment made in meeting the challenge, an unchecked cyber-attack could unleash untold damage. We have to figure out a way to create deterrence and design a recovery program, even though this seems like a Sisyphean task. We have to look for and implement tactical and intelligence solutions, not in place of development testing, but integrated with it." "We have learned which indicators will point us to a cyber event. If we know where the development is taking place, then we know which countries have those capabilities that our intelligence resources need to focus on," he says. So what you are saying is that warfare in the cyber domain is like combat in the

MAY 2012


Photo: Shutterstock

physical domain? "Yes, only now we're talking about a new dimension." How much would you invest in an attack? "The fact that a new age and new theater of operations has opened on the national and military levels means that we have to make all the necessary preparations. Even the realization that resources have to be allocated is a step in the right direction. No one has any illusions – manpower will have to be increased in this domain at the expense of others," admits Ben Eliyahu.

Computer wisdom first In the summer of 2011, the Israeli government adopted the recommendations of Ben Yisrael's National Cyber Initiative Taskforce and approved the establishment of the National Cyber Directorate to coordinate cyber activity at the military and civilian levels. How do you mobilize and prepare for war from the cyber, educational, and national point of view? Rami Efrati explains, "National preparations for cyber defense are built on several layers. The first is education and academia – developing human assets and technological infrastructure to position Israel as a leader in the cyber field. The second is the promotion of the Israeli industry so that it will be a leader in the


MAY 2012

field. The third is regulation, authorization, and standardization, which will result in significant steps in defending all elements that may suffer as a result of a cyber-attack against the country. The fourth is explanatory – maximize awareness of the risks and the tools needed to handle them, so that every Israeli citizen will be an active partner in protecting the Israeli cyber expanse. The last is promoting global technological cooperation towards protecting the Israeli cyber expanse." Israel is a very technologically advanced country. Is this an advantage or disadvantage in the cyber domain? Efrati answers, “The fact that Israel is very technologically advanced represents both an advantage and a disadvantage. The advantage is that it places the people in Israel at one of the best starting points with regards to technological knowledge and control. The disadvantage is that as a nation, it makes us more vulnerable to a cyber-attack. In my opinion, the advantage overcomes the disadvantage when we must leverage the technological control and the quality of the people in the country in order to bolster cyber defense in Israel. Professor Ben Yisrael, the taskforce that you led has contributed significantly to Israel's defense. On the other hand, we've been caught unprepared and have been exposed to hackers. Which scenarios are we prepared for?

"The Israeli stock market was infected by malware. The market, as you know, runs on computers, but since it's a protected system, it was able to separate the attack from its ongoing operations. As proof, it continued to sell stocks and bonds without any damage. However, during the attack, citizens were barred from the market's site. This is a protected system because Israel linked it to other protected systems. "To say that the cyber-attacks caught us unprepared is incorrect. The vital systems were protected, though not completely. We were happy to learn that we are one of the world's five leading countries in the field of cyber protection, but there remains an Achilles heel. It turns out that computerization is taking over every aspect of our lives. In 2012, there is almost no vital life system that is not computerized. Therefore, we have to expand and continuously upgrade our cyber-defense network. One system cannot guarantee protection for everything all the time. This is why we must establish and enforce regulations, laws, and standards. "New laws need to be legislated; many solutions lie in the passage of new laws. Yoram Cohen, the head of the Shabak, is trying to make advances in this direction, but there are still loopholes." "These issues are rather intimidating, but Israel is a very advanced state. Be that as it may, we still don’t know how protected we really are," Ben Eliyahu concludes. 

MAY 2012



Black Swans in the Cyber Domain By Dr. Gil David


n the 16th century, when people wanted to say that something was impossible, they used the term “black swan.” This expression describes an event that could not happen in reality. According to historical evidence, it was believed at the time that swans had only white feathers – ergo, a black swan could not exist. Then, in the seventeenth century, the world was stunned to learn that black swans had been found in remote Australia. The categorical assumption that black swans were impossible was abandoned. In 2007, the Lebanese-American philosopher Nassim Taleb presented his own black swan theory after several years of work. Taleb defines events as black swans that are generally random and unexpected. In other words, a black swan is a highimpact, low-frequency event whose influence on the future is extreme but whose likelihood of happening is low. In our time, a classic case of a black swan is the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in the US. This event contains all the criteria that define a black swan. It was a unique event. Whoever watched it – no matter where – was shocked. Its repercussions are still felt today, especially in airport security. The level of protection has risen dramatically and governments are continually upgrading security measures. This trend has had a powerful impact on the handling of passengers and the need for enormous resources.

Worms and swans One of the paramount cyber war events in recent years was the Stuxnet worm that infiltrated Iran’s nuclear facilities. Experts in cyber security agree that the Stuxnet worm attacked the centrifuges’ control systems and reshuffled their operating instructions, altering the centrifuges’ speed


MAY 2012

cycles, causing them to crack and then explode. Stuxnet can be defined as a black swan for a number of reasons. First, it contained the element of surprise. Nuclear facilities are tightly guarded against physical, virtual, and cyber threats. Their communication networks are isolated from the Internet and buried several meters underground. In addition, the facilities’ production network operates according to SCADA protocol (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition), and until the Stuxnet penetration, almost no cases of attacks aimed specifically against this protocol were registered. Despite enhanced security measures and isolation from external networks, the worm made its way so sophisticatedly into the reactor’s software and wreaked so much havoc in the facility’s innermost core that everyone was caught by surprise. In effect, what appeared as an impossible mission for the Stuxnet designers was carried out brilliantly and with craft, leaving the Iranians awestruck. Second, from both a practical perspective and as a confidence destroyer, the effect of the worm on the Iranian nuclear program was immense. Some pundits claim that the attack pushed the nuclear project back by months, even years. Following the event, the Iranians decided to base their software on a code that they developed themselves, without recourse to any external codes that could harbor more worms. This required special preparations, such as training engineers and allocating costly resources. It also meant a setback for development plans. On the international level, Stuxnet had a powerful impact on cyber defense, forcing vast sums to be diverted to improving counter measures. In this way, it caused a reconfiguration of the security concept in states and governments and awakened the need for a significant change in preparing for future cyber threats.

Third, in recent years, there have been many indications of zero-day Trojan horses (exploiting computer application weak spots), backdoor attacks (circumventing normal authentication), and other malware designed for targeted attacks against organizations and facilities. Another technique that has been around for several years is malware incursion of networks via external infection (such as a disk-on-key) that bypasses the defense mechanisms that deny unauthorized access. Human agents have been used for carrying out an attack (for example, infecting a network with a worm) and social engineering has been employed for evading sophisticated security mechanisms. There were even some reports that attacks could be made against SCADA protocol-based systems. The West is determined to impede the Iranian nuclear project at almost any price. The Stuxnet worm was indeed a black swan. It was the first major one to be seen in the cyber world, and is a harbinger of things to come in cyberspace. The trick is to avoid this kind of attack on our own systems. One solution is to identify weak points in our systems and transform a black swan into a white one. This is the only way we can protect our most sensitive systems and prepare for the cyber war that looms on the horizon. 

IDF to Train Youths for the Cyber Field This coming school year, a new IDF project will train youths in the cyber field prior to their recruitment

Photo: Shutterstock


new IDF project: instructing youths for the cyber field. The IDF has decided to adopt 50 schools in the next school year and increase their instruction of cyber warfare. The IDF needs considerable manpower in order to operate various systems across all aspects of cyber warfare. However, few students study in technological schools, and too few high school students are instructed in the various computer professions needed to fulfill the IDF’s recruitment requirement for cyber units. As a result, the IDF has decided to allocate significant sums to improve the instruction of youths in the cyber field. According to the General Staff’s plan, which is in cooperation with the Israeli Ministry of Education, approximately 50 schools throughout the country will

receive increased student training for cyber professions. Senior officials explain, “The cyber

field is expanding and necessitates an increased number of soldiers to deal with it. This is one of our solutions.” 

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MAY 2012



The Hyperspectral Camera Every substance in nature is characterized by the range of the wavelength it reflects. ElOp’s new hyperspectral camera is based on this very principle By Arie Egozi payloads come in. They created a hyperspectral camera that can see light reflections in the 350-2500 nanometer range.

A Hyperspectral payload on every UAV


l-Op, an Elbit Systems subsidiary, has developed a hyperspectral camera capable of identifying substances based on their light reflections. “The company developed a camera that can pick up the reflections from a long list of materials and identify them according to these reflections. This is essentially an optic radar – only that in this case, the reflection is of the different wavelengths picked up and identified by the system,” Adi Dar, CEO of El-Op, tells IsraelDefense. What is this good for? Take the example of an enemy military base with containers stored with fuel and chemical substances. Unlabeled, they are meant to confuse anyone trying to follow the production of chemical materials at the base. To eliminate the containers, intelligence must know precisely which one to hit. All of the containers emit a small amount of gas, which is more than enough for the hyperspectral camera to know exactly which ones store fuel, and which ones store chemical substances for the production of weapons of mass destruc-


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tion (WMDs).

All substances are characterized by certain wavelengths The innovation lies in the sensitivity of the camera El-Op utilizes, which essentially integrates advanced optronics with a computer that receives the reflections and then identifies them. The system includes a bank of definitions, so that once the camera receives a reflection in the range of a certain wavelength, it can tell, for example, that it belongs to helicopter fuel and not diesel. Dar says that the system allows for the independent examination of materials. It collects the wavelengths of various substances once they are identified, and can then detect the substance later, even in less-than-ideal conditions. Once a theory is proven, it must be made into an operational system. This is where the capabilities of El-Op’s technicians and engineers in producing unique electro-optic

El-Op has successfully developed and produced a hyperspectral payload that can be installed onboard UAVs. As of now, the payload has been installed onboard the Hermes-450 UAV and will likely be installed onboard its larger version, the Hermes-900. The system weighs nearly 60 kg, and judging by the history of the company’s systems, it seems that the next generation will be smaller and lighter. The interconnectivity between El-Op’s payloads, including those for day and night operations, and unique ones like the new hyperspectral payload, are aimed at making the concealment of certain objects or substances more difficult if they are not buried underground or covered by a thick layer of concrete. The payloads can see and identify nearly everything, the goal of which is to have a unified intelligence picture. Under the assumption that Elbit Systems is not revealing all of its capabilities, it is possible that there are better system capabilities than the ones revealed. “It’s possible to install a hyperspectral system on many platforms, as it also has many civilian applications,” says Dar. “For example, it is possible to identify areas of contaminated water and regions with crops infected by pests. Everything in nature has a wavelength in which it reflects the sun’s radiation. Our systems know how to translate the reflections into the names of the substances, even if the differences are negligible.” 

MAY 2012


Snipe and Rescue “Silent” or “noisy” deployment? Aim for the head or chest? Tomer Snir, a former special ops sniper, explains the details of planning an action to neutralize terrorists and how the “fear effect” comes into play By Tomer Snir

Two Barrels Are Better than One After Amos Golan came up with the idea for a double barreled rifle, he saw his idea through and developed the Gilboa series’ Snake. The new weapon is unveiled here for the first time By Amir Rapaport


Photos: Ziv Koren

he idea to design a doublebarreled rifle that fires two bullets simultaneously at a target came to Amos Golan one morning by chance. Taking the idea from start to finish, he developed the Gilboa series' Snake. Some of the select few who were privy to the new weapon's secret development were skeptical about its


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chances of materializing. However, this was also the same reaction Golan received when he decided a decade ago to develop a rifle that fired around corners without exposing the shooter. That idea gave birth to the Corner Shot rifle – a global sensation that is currently operational in armies, police, and special force units around the world. The creative weapons are developed

and produced by Golan’s Silver Shadow company – one of Israel’s few small arms companies.

Farmer, actor Under other circumstances, Amos Golan might have pursued a different career. As a youngster in Tel Aviv, he chose to study at the Hakfar Hayarok

Amos Golan

Photo: Meir Azulay

Light weapons & Tactics Light weapons & Tactics SUPPLEMENT

School where he developed a love for the stage. Before entering the army, he was offered a spot in one of the army’s entertainment troupes. "While I was mulling over the offer, I stood in front of a mirror and asked myself if it made sense that if a war erupted, I'd make people laugh instead of fighting. So I volunteered for the paratroopers," recalls Golan. He began his military service at the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War, and by the time the 1978 Litani Operation in Lebanon came around, he was already a company commander in the 202nd Paratrooper Battalion. After completing his service, he worked as an instructor at Hakfar Hayarok School for a few years before returning to the defense establishment. Once back in uniform, he established a special team in the police's counter-terror unit, Yamam, known as the "Silent Squad" (most of whose exploits have not been revealed and probably never will). The squad consisted of twelve operators who honed skills that included climbing, rappelling, and of course, weapons expertise. The inspiration for the team that Golan commanded for five years came from the book "The Dirty Dozen." After his tour of duty with Yamam, Golan returned to the ground division where he took part in setting up the Counter-Terror School, which he commanded until his last appointment in the army. He finally served as commander of the Duvdevan undercover unit for special ops in an urban environment, which he

commanded during the First Intifada in the early 1990s. The pace of operations was hectic, and sometimes several actions were carried out simultaneously. One of the unit's 1,800 operations during his tenure in Duvdevan ended disastrously – a soldier was killed by friendly fire – an incident that Golan still agonizes over. Even though Golan does not keep tabs on the number of times he was wounded in battle, he does recount one incident in which he miraculously survived a grenade tossed at him in Tyre, Lebanon. In the incident, Golan tried to evade the grenade by jumping out of a moving vehicle, but landed on the same exact spot as where the grenade landed. Unbelievably, he avoided being seriously injured from flying shrapnel, which could have ended his life.

In 1994, after reaching the post of lieutenant colonel, Golan retired from the IDF and founded Silver Shadow with his wife Ronit, and friend Asaf Nadel. What events led you to establish a weapons company? "The idea to establish Silver Shadow came from my area of expertise: fighting terror. Obviously, I'm not the only person with a background in this field. There are and there will be people who are better than me that retire over the years, but I decided to establish a company that would provide solutions to a wide range of threats." Surprisingly, Silver Shadow did not get its start in light weapons production. Instead, it developed and manufactured removable bulletproof plating for vehicles, offered global security consulting, and represented other

Profile: The Gilboa Snake Double Barrel Rifle The concept behind Silver Shadow’s new assault rifle is the addition of a second barrel that doubles firepower. The shooter pulls the trigger and two bullets fly out with an imperceptible nanosecond delay between each barrel. The mechanism’s open breech operating system is similar to the one on the Belgian FN MAG machinegun. The piston-operated cocking mechanism utilizes the returning gas to create an unbroken firing cycle. In addition, the Gilboa Snake’s unique firing pin guarantees a near-undetectable delay between the first bullet exiting the left barrel and second bullet leaving the adjacent right barrel. The weapon is fed from a 5.6 caliber double crossed magazine and has a double breech lock and cocking handle identical to the Gilboa’s.

The two parallel barrels are 3 cm apart from the bore centers. The weapon comes with an ergonomic grip, surrounding rails, and one Picatinny rail in the center between the barrels. Technical details: Overall length (closed stock) – 710 mm Overall length (opened stock) – 800 mm Overall length (without stock) – 495 mm Weight (with stock) – 4.246 k Weight (without stock) – 3.780 k Weapon width – 59.2 mm Barrel length – 9.5 in Rifling (twist rate) – 1/7 in (177.8 mm)

The weight of two full magazines should be added to the overall weight. Each magazine weighs approximately

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Light weapons & Tactics

companies. With Golan’s wellspring of ideas, it didn’t take long for Silver Shadow to move into other fields and produce a bullet-proof podium. Silver Shadow’s turning point came seven years ago when Efraim Yaari, a major figure in Israel's small arms industry, retired early. Yaari, formerly the head of R&D at IMI’s firearms factory (now called IWI), was one of the developers of the Micro Galil and Micro Uzi. "I proposed that he join Silver Shadow and was delighted when he agreed," says Golan. "I know how to operate weapons and I'm an expert in many aspects of small arms. However, I lack an engineering background, and this is where Yaari excels as a leader. We also brought in former members of Yamam and naval commandos. "We did not start in the weapons factory, but in the laboratory, where we converted some rather wild fantasies into actual products. Eventually, we established our weapons factory in Yehud (outside Tel Aviv)." Where did the idea for the Corner


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Even though the Snake’s barrels appear perfectly parallel, a slight variance was introduced to allow the two bullets to hit the same exact point Shot come from? "I don’t have an education in technology, but I am able to see a problem from every possible angle. I grasp a concept and view it like it’s in a rotating planetarium at 360°. Since limitations in technology are not an obstacle, I latch onto an idea and only later check to see if it's feasible. "The idea to develop the Corner Shot came from a story I heard about a soldier wounded in a firefight. His

buddies couldn’t reach him because the source of heavy fire was impenetrable, and so their comrade died in front of their eyes." "This incident led me to conceive of a weapon that could be operated from behind a wall or cover.” The front part of Corner Shot can be aimed at a target while the trigger and sight remain with the shooter behind a wall. The end of the rifle is mounted with a camera, which enables the shooter to aim his weapon without exposing himself to counter fire. "When I got the idea, I was astonished to discover that nobody had thought of it before me.” Following its development, “my greatest satisfaction came when I received letters from soldiers in the US Army who wrote with heartfelt gratitude that our weapon had saved the lives of Americans fighting in Iraq.” Corner Shot's success gave Silver Shadow's weapons factory a wellearned boost of confidence, and the next stage was for Yaari's team to develop the Gilboa assault rifle.

"Unlike other weapons developed in recent years that completely changed the shape of the rifle, the structure of the human body hasn’t changed, so why should the rifle it it’s still relevant? Nevertheless, even though the Gilboa looks like a standard assault rifle at first glance, we registered a whole list of patents for it, such as the shape of the assembly unit, the rifle's materials (the body is made of CNC aircraft aluminum), and the way gas is expelled. The rifle is built to fire the latest types of ammunition, as well as all kinds of older ammunition still in use in many armies. "After we started marketing the Gilboa, I realized that a double-barreled rifle was the next big thing," adds Golan. Why? "I studied what happens on the battlefield and saw that a target is usually visible for only a very short time. I tried to think of how I could create faster, greater, and more accurate firepower for soldiers on the ground. I read hundreds of books a year on security matters that gave me food for thought. One night in bed, I asked myself what if two bullets were fired off together. After I finished playing with the idea, we tried to envision how it could be put into practice from an engineering perspective." IsraelDefense will soon publish independent findings of a weapons test with the Snake rifle. In the meantime, the assessment of the weapon's performance, which will make its formal debut at Eurosatory International Defense Expo 2012 in Paris (June 11-15), is based on the claims of its inventor. According to Golan, even though the Snake’s two barrels appear perfectly parallel, a slight variance has been introduced to allow the two bullets to hit exactly the same point. The degree of variance between the barrels can be slightly altered in order to determine the distance the two bullets are supposed to cross (in the default position, the

barrel is supposed to be angled so that the meeting occurs one hundred meters from the point of fire). Golan explains that a microsecond delay exists between the ejection of the two bullets to avoid a situation in which bullets detonate in the barrel. Only after the first bullet leaves the barrel are the gases expelled and transferred through special tubing to the second barrel's cocking mechanism, which activates the release of the second bullet. If the first bullet misfires, the second bullet cannot be released. Both single-shot and automatic fire is possible, as in every rifle, and like the single-barreled Gilboa, the Snake can be fed all kinds of ammunition, including Kalashnikov bullets. Don’t the bullets leaving the rifle impede one another? "No. We checked everything. Due to the miniscule difference in timing, the bullets move successively and do not interfere with one another." What are the most likely scenarios for using a double-barreled rifle? "First and foremost, it creates a

mass of fire that amplifies the chances of immediately neutralizing the enemy. In addition, there are many instances where such firepower has a special advantage. For example, when two bullets are fired at an enemy clad in a protective vest, the chances of penetrating the vest are greater if the bullets hit the exact same spot. We also know from counter-terror operations of situations in which two snipers must hit the same target simultaneously when trying to neutralize kidnappers holding hostages. A fraction of a second is critical in preventing terrorists from reacting and hurting the hostage. "Naturally, simultaneous fire can never be exact, but with this new weapon, it’s possible. There are many more scenarios where a double-barreled weapon has obvious advantages." That's it? No more ideas for new weapons? "Right now we have seven or eight ideas for revolutionary weapons on the drawing table. I'd say that some of them will be produced in the coming years." 

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Light weapons & Tactics

More Professional, but Inexperienced The IDF’s sniper layout is being revolutionized, but a basic problem remains: Israeli snipers are less experienced than their US counterparts By Tomer Snir

 Snipers from the IDF and the US Marines undergo joint training at the Mitkan Adam Base


n “experienced sniper” is an oxymoron in the IDF. This is not meant to detract from the IDF. However, a soldier who spends half of his three-year compulsory service in basic combat training, and only afterwards takes part in operations cannot be considered a first-class sniper. Experience is a key factor in neutralizing a target, and even more so in silent, camouflaged arrival to the target and the safe retreat to the collection point. Some armies have snipers that are more experienced than IDF snipers. For sake of comparison, let’s take the duration of sniper qualifications in the US Army, and the duration of their operational service. When discussing experience, there’s no doubt that the average sniper in the US Army is older than an Israeli sniper. Experience comes with age. In a professional army, a sniper serving for 1015 years knows himself better and is more familiar with misfires, terrain, and working


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conditions than the Israeli conscript who completes a sniper course, travels abroad after his service, and then becomes a reservist. Israeli reservist snipers do participate in operational activities, but this is generally a case of refamiliarization and “getting rid of rust,” rather than honing professional skills. The first sniper school in the US Army was set up in Fort Benning, Georgia in 1955. Today, the basic course runs for five weeks and is divided into three parts: navigation and long-range marksmanship; stealth and concealment, fieldcraft, and advanced shooting capabilities; and communications and intelligence collection. The US Marine Corps has its own sniper course known as Scout Sniper Basic Course (SSBC). The Marines’ approach is that every sniper must be an expert in field craft, navigation, stealth, and concealment. The course has a 60% dropout rate and is considered one of the toughest programs in the entire US military.

Photo: Tomer Snir

The Marine course used to be ten weeks, but was shortened to eight and a half in 2009 after advanced sniper skills were transferred to a separate course and a four-week team leader program was added to the general training program. Another change came in 2012 when greater emphasis was placed on shooting skills and less on stealth and concealment. In the current twelve and a half week-course, called the “Scout Sniper Course,” the first nine weeks are devoted to perfecting shooting skills, and the rest of the time to field craft. At the end of the course, snipers are qualified for operations behind enemy lines and are integrated into reconnaissance units. The Marines also offer an advanced sniper course for urban warfare, high angle sniping for mountainous areas and tall buildings, and for sniper team leaders. Sometimes advanced training is held with foreign forces, such as the British Marines.

Snipers The US Navy SEALs go through a three-month sniper course with an emphasis on intelligence collection. The course is divided into two parts: a fourweek scout program, and seven weeks of sniper training. SEAL snipers are assigned individually to an organic combat team, which is different than the standard sniper-spotter arrangement. This means that a SEAL sniper must be multi-skilled in intelligence gathering, covering fire, spotting, range finding, and target neutralization, all without recourse to a spotter. In addition, all US sniper instructors are combat veterans who impart their rich operational experience to rookies and accompany them for several years during training. This does not refer to officers who change roles after short terms and mostly deal with command, but rather the fighters – who must be at the topmost professional level when it comes to using their sniping weapons.

Sniping in the IDF Until recently, the IDF placed little emphasis on sniper training and use

in combat. Prior to the establishment of Israel, veterans of the WWII Jewish Brigade introduced sniping into the country, though this was just one of many skills taught for combat. For years, the snipers were employed haphazardly in infantry units. Finally, in 2008, after exhaustive staff work, the sniper layout was significantly upgraded. Brainstorming sessions were held with field rank officers in order to learn the advantages and optimal application of battlefield sniping. Since then, noncommissioned officers in charge of sniper training have become an essential element in operations in order to keep their professional skills finely tuned. This is different from the US approach where instructors serve in a training base only after lengthy service as active snipers. In Israel, sniper instructors generally undergo training at the outset of their military service, rather than first serving in a combat unit. The Marksmanship and Sniping School at the Mitkan Adam Base in the center of the country, which recently merged with the Counter-Terror School, has separate tracks for sniping and marksmanship,

each commanded by an officer with the rank of major. The sniper layout and the IDF’s attitude toward sniper activity has improved in the last few years. This can be seen in the rise in the number of courses and the spike in the number of snipers serving in infantry brigades. Sniper training takes less time in Israel than in other countries, and instructors without operational experience teach the skills in very abridged courses. The threeyear compulsory service in the IDF is not enough for snipers to be considered professional. Nevertheless, foreign troops (including German, British, and even American units) arrive at the Sniper School for training. The reason: the IDF has gained invaluable experience in operational activity over the years, especially in urban warfare. 

The author served as a sniper in an IDF special forces unit. Today, he is a sales manager at New Noga Light, a company that develops, produces, and markets day and night vision equipment and thermal imagery sights.

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Light weapons & Tactics

The Army Combat Uniform that Makes Soldiers Disappear Special force units will acquire Fibrotex combat clothing that conceals troops from observation and radar By Moriya Ben-Yosef


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The new uniform system

Photo: Fibrotex


ew reversible combat uniforms will be introduced into the IDF to provide soldiers with instant camouflage in diverse terrains. The new uniform was developed by Fibrotex, an Israeli company specializing in camouflage systems, in conjunction with IDF special force units. The ergonomically designed, light, and durable clothes are made of breathable materials that allows for sweat to evaporate and for soldiers to conduct intense activity in extreme weather conditions. An outer tactical vest, joint pads, and other protective devices are integral parts of the uniform, and contribute to its comfort, lightness, ease of movement, and improved operational dexterity. T h e re v e r s i b i l i t y a l l o w s f o r green camouflage in areas with vegetation, such as forests or fields, while the reverse side can camouflage troops in a desert or urban environment. In addition to visual camouflage, the combat uniform also provides other forms of camouflage. “The uniform was developed after undergoing extensive R&D,” says Amir Kozlovski, the CEO of Fibrotex. “Besides the IDF, armies and security forces around the world have expressed a keen interest in acquiring the new uniform.” 


The Skin of the Pistol

Not just for cell phones: a new professional cover for firearms

By Eyal Boguslavsky


ersia Military Design has partnered with a leading small arms manufacturer to design and develop the Tactic-Skin – a series of special polymer products for the security and civilian market. The first product in the series, the TSG 1, is a cover for a pistol's slide – a kind of second skin, similar to covers for mobile phones. The product was tested on this particularly sensitive part of the weapon for heat and shock resistance under various operational conditions. The TSG 1 will make its debut in the Versia Military Design pavilion at the Eurosatory International Defense Expo 2012 held in Paris this June. Tactic-Skin's TSG 1 enables easy and dexterous cocking thanks to its integration into special areas along the length of the slide. It can also be color-marked to facilitate weapon identification or stamped with the user's name or logo, be it a security company, police unit, or shooting range. The TSG 1 can also be a fashion accessory like a mobile phone's cover. Its easy attachment and removal eliminates fastening devices. At this stage, the TSG 1 is suited only for Glock pistols, but development is underway on skins for brand names. Several defense and law enforcement bodies in Israel and around the world that have been presented with the product have already placed initial orders. According to a senior Versia official, the product is also expected to be sold to the civilian market in a variety of shades and patterns. 

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MAY 2012


Light weapons & Tactics Accessories

Testing Accessories: Small, Accurate, Original

Photo: FAB Defense

Avi Mor tested the TSG forward assault grip and a pistol-mounted tactical flashlight. These are his impressions By Avi Mor

TSG Forward Assault Grip


ssault grips that are vertically mounted on foregrips are a common feature in Israel and around the world. The standard angle of the assault grip is no longer than 90° beneath the foregrip, and many can be adjusted to an angle of 45° to the right or left, depending on the shooter's dominant hand. The main question asked today is what the assault grip can do besides being just a grip? FAB Defense's TSG model offers much more than the standard grip. The model attaches to the foregrip with a fast Picatinny connection that is tight-

ened with a built-in butterfly nut. The kit comes with a standard-length grip that fits comfortably into the palm of the hand. A screw-on, water resistant cover allows small items to be stored inside the hollow grip. If the length of the grip or the hollow volume is insufficient, the grip can be extended and the storage space enlarged to hold a reserve lithium CR123 battery for the tactical flashlight. Unfortunately, without the extension, there's no room for the battery. A granular rubber covering makes the grip comfortable and safe to hold, even with gloves or wet hands. The kit has three additional accessories: an adaptor

for a wire circuit-breaker extension for a tactical light or communication cable; a spare Picatinny rail; and three screws (though only two are really needed). The grip can be mounted for right- or left-handed shooters, and upgraded in minutes with a second Picatinny rail for an additional optical accessory or easy access to the flashlight's circuit breaker or communication cable. It is clear that much thought has gone into the grip's design. My only complaint is that the package did not come with an instruction manual; even a simple explanatory leaflet or diagram would have been helpful. 

PR-3 Flashlight


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Photo: Avi Mor


tactical flashlight is an essential feature for most weapons. Rifles and sub-machineguns mounted with flashlights, laser markers, or combined units are no longer a technical problem. This is increasingly true for pistols as well, since almost all of today's handguns have a Picatinny rail on their dust cover (excluding subcompact pistols). Therefore, there's no excuse not to have a flashlight permanently mounted during combat duty, for home protection, or for carrying the weapon for self-defense. The flashlight operates on a single 3-volt CR/DL123 lithium battery that weighs only 83 grams. The lens is one inch in diameter and the body is 9 cm long and 3.7 cm high – both small and compact. Despite its modest dimensions, the PR-3 emits a powerful

100-120 lumen beam for ninety consecutive minutes. That's impressive! The body of the flashlight is made of aviation aluminum that keeps well even in damp and rainy conditions. The light comes with an attached rubber lens cover that prevents

unintentional light from escaping and giving away the weapon's location. The extremely bright beam illuminates dozens of meters with a highly effective search or advanced halo. The built-in circuit breaker can be easily replaced with a tactical one (mistakenly called a PTT) that has two positions (on/ off, and momentary), with the possibility of short-burst emissions. The Picatinny rail connection is an integral part of the flashlight's structure and is fastened with an Allen screwdriver that's included in the kit. A much quicker connection, made with a coin or butterfly screw, would render the process considerably more user-friendly. Still, the PR-3 flashlight is a welcome addition to the combat and self-defense arsenal, and a lifesaver when changing a flat tire at night. 



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The First Lebanon War As Never Seen Before When the First Lebanon War broke out, Brigadier General Yossi Ben Hanan (later Major General) came armed with a camera. Thirty years later, the photographs that he took in the fighting zones and command posts show where Defense Minister Ariel Sharon and the top brass stood By Moriya Ben Yosef Photos: Major General (Res.) Yossi Ben Hanan


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hen Israel invaded Lebanon in June 1982, the action wasn’t called the "First Lebanon War." Its official name was "Operation Peace for Galilee." It took the Second Lebanon War to give it the retroactive appellation that has never been officially recognized. Following the attempted assassination of Israeli Ambassador Shlomo Argov in London, the IDF sent forces to Lebanon in 1982. Within a week, Israeli troops reached Beirut, only leaving months later after the PLO expelled their leader, Yasser Arafat. On the road to Beirut, the IDF engaged in bloody battles with the Syrian Army. Since then, almost every aspect of the First Lebanon War has been a subject of controversey. According to the official history, 670 IDF soldiers were killed during the fighting. Between 1982 and May 25, 2000 – the date the IDF officially withdrew from the last inch of territory in South Lebanon – 1,216 more soldiers were killed. According to estimates, 18,000 died on the Arab side, including 10,000 Syrian troops and armed Palestinians. Three IDF soldiers who fought in the Battle of Sultan Yacoub are still listed as MIA. Major General Yossi Ben Hanan, whose photos appear here for the first time, was a brigadier general when the First Lebanon War broke out. He is known throughout the world for his iconic photograph featured on the cover of LIFE magazine. In this photograph he is pictured in the Suez Canal, flaunting a Kalashnikov assault rifle at the end of the Six-Day War. Six years later, he was awarded the Medal of Courage for his part in stopping the advance of Syrian troops on the Golan Heights in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. In the First Lebanon War, Ben Hanan served as an advisor to the 35th Paratrooper Brigade and IDF High Command. More of his never-before-seen photos from the First Lebanon War will be on display in a ceremony commemorating the war's 13th anniversary in Park HaYarkon in Tel Aviv on June 16, 2012.


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Landing from sea and movement across the coastal axis








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The Chouf Mountains on the way to Beirut

13 7





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Beirut in our hands


From the Awali River to Beirut – The Paratroopers’ View


June 2012 marks the 13th anniversary of Operation Peace for Galilee. During the last thirty years, Israel has witnessed momentous events. However, Lebanon was engraved in the memory of many as the arena in which we lost our finest officers and men. The IDF’s 35th Paratrooper Brigade operated in the western sector of Lebanon. They battled Palestinian terrorists, the Syrian Army, and made history as the first unit to link up with the commanders of the Christian enclave in the north. This led to victory in the western sector and enabled the brigade to reach Beirut first. The late Yitzhak Rabin wrote: “Being a paratrooper means having character. It is the realization of the Zionist dream: upstanding people who radiate love of man and country, people of high personal standards, devoted to the mission, willing to sacrifice . . .” With these words, Rabin underscored the strength that the brigade displayed in the First Lebanon War.

It was my privilege to share in the successes of the 35th in the war: from landing on the shore of the Awali River north of Sidon, through the back-breaking trek across open ground and built-up areas that culminated in the winding road that led to the outskirts of Beirut. The brigade lost 35 men between June 6 and October 1, 1982. Despite meticulous planning, war is always the domain of the unexpected. We often had to plan missions and carry them out in the midst of heavy ground fire. As the intelligence officer of a veteran brigade, I had the honor to work shoulder to shoulder with outstanding commanders and experienced officers who never feared taking the calculated risk.

Brig. Gen. (Res.) Yuval Halamish was an intel officer of the 35th Brigade during the First Lebanon War. He later became the IDF’s chief intel officer. MARCH 2012


Main Photo: Deputy Corps Cdr. Ehud Barak, Minister of Defense Ariel Sharon, and Chief of Staff, the late Refael Eitan discussing strategy at a command post in Beirut 1. The 211th Armored Brigade en route to Beirut 2. An APC evacuating the wounded 3. An overturned Syrian tank 4. Paratroopers departing for battle 5. Head of Northern Command, the late Maj. Gen. Amir Drori briefing the command in Beirut 6. Paratrooper Brigade advancing on Beirut 7. Cdr. of the 35th Brigade, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yoram Yair on the move 8. IDF soldiers stationed in Lebanon 9. IDF soldiers stationed in Lebanon 10. Paratroopers advancing past a ruined Syrian tank 11. Tanks along the coastal route 12. Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yoram Yair and Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yossi Ben Hanan examining topographical maps 13. Syrian tanks bombed by IAF aircraft at the Chouf Mountains, Lebanon 14. Deputy Corps Cdr., Ehud Barak (now Israel’s Minister of Defense) at Beirut’s captured airport 15. Corps Cdr., Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yanush Ben Gal and Corps Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amram Mitzna with a Lebanese child at Jounieh Beach, Lebanon 16. Division Cdr., Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amos Yaron; Paratroop Brigade Intel Officer, Col. (Res.) Yuval Halamish; Head of Northern Command, the late Maj. Gen. Amir Drori; Paratroop Regiment Cdr., then Maj. Gen. (Res.) Doron Almog at a strategy meeting 17. Minister of Defense Ariel Sharon at the captured Beirut Airport 18. Deputy Cdr. of the 98th Division, Brig. Gen. (Res.) Yehuda Duvdevani, debriefing the members of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in Beirut, including former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert 19. Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yossi Ben Hanan and Cdr. of the Lebanese Christian Forces, Antoine Lahad 20. Company Cdr. in the Paratrooper Brigade, then Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzak Gershon 21. A look from the command post in Beirut towards the French vessels arriving to retrieve PLO members 22. Maj. Gen. (Res.)Yossi Ben Hanan; Cdr. of 211th Brigade, Col. Eli Geva; Cdr. of the 188th Brigade, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Dagan, the former Head of Mossad; and Cdr. of Shaldag, Brig. Gen. (Res.) Giora Inbar 23. Journalist Ron Ben-Yishai with Division Cdr. Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, who later became IDF Chief of Staff 24. Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yoram Yair debriefing the then Israeli ambassador to the US, Moshe Arens 25. IDF Forces in Lebanon 26. The late Maj. Gen. Aharon Yariv and Cdr. of the 91st Division, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Itzik Mordechai 27. Division Cdr., Maj. Gen. (Res.) Menachem Einan, Deputy Chief of Staff, the late Moshe Levi (later the Chief of Staff), and Division Cdr., Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amos Yaron, by a Syrian APC leaving Beirut


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Departing from Beirut





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The Arabs of Israel: A Paradigm Shift

The Iranian Discourse Dilemma

D o ro n We i s s Doron Weiss served as deputy director of the Shabak until 2011. He previously held several key positions in the organization, including head of the northern region that is responsible for Israel’s Arab sector.

he basic assumption in the conflict between Israel’s Arab and Jewish citizens is that it is unsolvable. The Jewish narrative (the War of Independence) will always be at odds with the Arab-Palestinian narrative (the Nakba, Arabic for “catastrophe”), which will continue to fan the flames of nationalism between both sides. Another assumption is that the discrimination against the Arab minority by most of Israel’s governments has resulted in a reality where the Arabs remain outside the national experience of the majority. Prejudice and the non-integration of the Arabs, 20% of Israel’s population, has created a dynamic that parallels the fluctuating intensity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Have we tried to understand this minority that has to undergo perennial loyalty tests and daily security checks? A large segment of the Arab population in Israel is young and exposed to the surrounding economic-social reality. Young people have needs, aspirations, and desires. The young Arab-Israeli sees his Jewish peers and compares his situation to theirs. Over the years, a classic “pocket economy” has developed in the Arab sector – an economic system that circumvents the state system. Many Arab citizens feel that since the state does not invest in them nor integrates them into government circles, there is no reason for them to fully cooperate with its economic mechanisms. The level of crime in the Arab sector is high. Illegal weapons abound. Many Arab cities and villages lack urban planning, and soaring demographic growth has led to wide-scale illegal construction. The educational infrastructures in the Arab sector are sub-par – the level of instruction needs overhauling, the drop-out rate is high, and the percentage of students eligible for graduation is far below the Jewish average. These figures have a debilitating influence on the Arabs’ ability to integrate into the fabric of the state. Young people who gain an education but



MAY 2012

cannot find employment in their profession become frustrated by the lack of self-realization and the low salary they receive from temporary jobs outside their field. Although this picture is only partial, it reflects many of the dangers relevant to Israeli society and the country as a whole. Another issue is the lack of Arabic-language TV channels and radio stations that could serve as intermediaries between Arab citizens and the national and local governments. The “solution” to this shortcoming is the satellite dish that picks up Arab stations such as alJazeera, al-Arabia, and al-Manar, which incite hatred against Israel. This only heightens the phenomenon of Arab nationalism. If the Israeli media offered the opportunity for a candid, free-flowing discourse that reflected the positions of all the sides, it would be a magnificent contribution to integrating Arab citizens. It would also serve as an appropriate outlet for airing solutions to social, economic, and cultural grievances, and a positive framework for developing relations between all the citizens of the state. The main complaint regarding the Arabs’ non-integration into Jewish civil life is that they do not serve in the army or in national service, and that a balance must be maintained between contributing to the state and receiving privileges from it. However, it seems that in Israel’s unique reality, the state must be generous to its minorities in general, and especially to its large Arab minority, and not descend into futile bickering about fulfilling one’s obligations. Unfortunately, this debate only perpetuates the status quo. A different way of thinking that alters the long-entrenched paradigm could create a different reality. Good will and a narrowing of socio-economic gaps, along with the establishment of an official Arabic-language state television network, could create a tolerant and productive atmosphere for open communication and contribute to the integration of the Arab population into the life of the state.

Major General (Ret.) David Ivry Major General (Ret.) David Ivry is president of Boeing Israel. He was commander of the IAF, chairman of the National Security Council, and ambassador to the US

Exhausting all measures before a military operation: There are those who present a time constraint on the Israeli side, while nearly completely cancelling the possibility that the application of other measures can justify postponing a military operation. An extreme example was voiced recently by the Minister of Finance, Yuval Steinitz, during Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to Washington. He recommended that Israel get the US to set a specific and binding schedule for the use of non-military means. The US has made it very clear that it does not believe that all measures have been exhausted. Proof of this is in the intensification of sanctions against Iran, such as the cancellation of Iran’s participation in SWIFT (the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) in Brussels. Even after all the sanctions are applied, only time will assess their impact. 2. Red lines: A state with red lines essentially straitjackets itself, which is a situation that no leader wants. Therefore, countries do not share the real limits of their red lines, even with their closest allies. Instead, hints are disclosed to exert pressure. In 1981, when Israel bombed the Osirak reactor, Israel defined its red line clearly, enabling it to make a decision relatively easily. However, this red line was only publicized after the attack. Today, establishing the red line is a much more complex matter. This time, the issue is being debated in the international arena. If classified information was made public, the red line would have to be altered, and the nation’s leaders, who decide the red lines, would face a serious dilemma. 3. Military cooperation: Each side is wary of sharing tactical options and military timetables with others, even with a strategic partner, as it could compromise participants in a mission or the success of an operation. The following historical example illustrates the issue. Shortly prior to the Yom Kippur War, the Soviets evacuated the families


Time for Strategy Asaf Agmon Brig. Gen. (Res.) Asaf Agmon is a former commander of the Sde Dov and Lod Airbases. He has served as military attaché to Japan and South Korea, and is currently director of the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies in Herzliya.

of Russian experts working in Egypt, showing that the Soviets were more committed to their own citizens than to a strategic partner about to launch a war. We can see that each side looks for the most auspicious time to inform its allies of tactical decisions. 4. Green light: In 1981, Alexander Haig, a former general with an impressive military record and the Reagan Administration’s first secretary of state, tried to convince the French government to halt its work on the Osirak reactor. Haig candidly informed Prime Minister Menachem Begin that his talks with France had come to nought. Begin interpreted this as a green light that the US had done all it could through diplomacy and now it was time to employ a military solution. Is this what Haig or the Reagan Administration really meant? Doubtfully. Today, the Obama Administration has repeatedly stated that there is no legitimacy for a military operation until all non-military measures are exhausted. However, each side interprets the same information or event differently, as was the case in Israel’s reaction to US diplomatic efforts. 5. If push comes to shove, who should carry out a military operation? Washington periodically reiterates its commitment to stop Iran from gaining military nuclear capability. The US president’s declaration of a preventive policy is the most far-reaching change heard to date. It means that the US will act only after all non-military means have been exhausted and its red line has been reached. The US possesses greater military capabilities than Israel, and can achieve far superior results in an attack. These abilities influence the US’s red line. What, then, is Israel’s problem? Its capabilities are more limited, and it is expected to reach its red line before the US reaches its own, which is a complicated dilemma for its leadership.

srael is now facing a battery of strategic challenges. First is Iran’s relentless pursuit of nuclearization that, despite international pressures and sanctions, still depends almost entirely on decisions emanating from its spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei. The dramatic changes in the Arab world are equivalent to historic earthquakes. Today’s Egypt is completely different than Mubarak’s from a year and half ago, and still far from political stabilization; Syria has been wrecked by civil war for more than a year, with no end in sight; and a regime change in Jordan or Saudi Arabia could have a strategic impact on Israel. The deterioration in Israel-Turkish relations, the Turkish government’s hostile position towards Israel, the US withdrawal from Iraq, and the US and Europe’s unwillingness to commit on the ground in international conflicts are all developments that, when taken cumulatively, are of supreme importance. Last but not least, there are the strategic implications of the latest advances and doctrines in missile and rocket warfare. Technological development has stimulated the production and deployment of tens of thousands of missiles and rockets by our enemies, who regularly declare (and occasionally prove) that their weapons can reach every point in Israel. The missiles’ powerful warheads and improved survivability (due to sophisticated camouflage and proliferation of launchers) means that the enemy’s rocket arsenal has become the gravest threat to the homefront since the War of Independence. This overall picture is disconcerting, to say the least. Powerful processes are at play that a small state like Israel finds exceedingly hard to influence. At the same time, we shouldn’t lose sight of


the fact that despite these dangers, Israel is not facing an immediate existential threat. Egypt and Jordan staunchly support our peace treaties; the Syrian Army is preoccupied with fighting for the survival of Bashar Assad’s regime; Iran still has a long way to go before achieving nuclear autonomy; and the US has never been more committed to Israel’s security. The greatest dangers stem from the temptation and need to deal with the mundane: economic tensions, social protests, and the survival of the government due to the nature of the Israeli political system. The success of terror organizations forces us to focus on daily security rather than devising a comprehensive defense doctrine based on strength buildup and rational appropriation of resources. The massive costs entailed in these goals impede decision-making on strategic issues, which, rather than solving the problem, only exacerbate it. We must immediately prepare a vision and active strategy tailored to the aforementioned changes. This is the weighty, complex responsibility incumbent upon our political and military leaders. When we look at Israel’s principles of national security, including deterrence, early warning, victory, and defense, then it becomes obvious that the air force plays a major role in each of these areas. Air commanders must be integrally involved in planning Israel’s strategy along with other key military, political, economic, and international elements. Israel faces the difficult task of working towards these objectives while developing a generation of commanders with the requisite skills to cope with daily responsibilities and design a comprehensive security doctrine that guarantees the country’s survival and prosperity. MAY 2012



Brigadier General (Res.) Dr. Dani Asher

Large-Scale War, Narrow Perspective Brigadier General (Res.) Dr. Dani Asher reviews a new book on the Yom Kippur War The book “At the Center of Gravity,”

“At the Center of Gravity,” by Ya’akov Even and Simha Maoz, Modan Publishers and Ma’arachot, 2012, 310 pages.

Brig. Gen. (Res.) Dr. Dani Asher is a military historian and researcher who specializes in Arab military operations and Arab-Israeli wars.


MAY 2012

discusses the Yom Kippur War on the Sinai front, describing the fighting and drawing conclusions on the way the war was managed on the battlefield. One of the authors was deputy commander of the force that crossed the Suez Canal – Major General Arik Sharon’s 143rd Division – and the other was the deputy’s assistant. Their participation in the war is the source of their authority in writing the book – one of many on the shelf of scholarly and theoretical works dealing with the war. The description of the facts, intentionally without authorized references, are based on various publications, including the war diaries that the authors kept. In their version of events, nothing new is said. The authors lack the experience to analyze and clarify Egypt’s moves and initiatives that played such a decisive role in the planning and use of forces, especially at the military leadership level during the fighting. An understanding of these events requires an analysis of military intelligence. However, according to the authors, military intelligence is nothing but “opinion that is intelligent at best, generally to be doubted, and always open to deep suspicion.” In their attempt to analyze the moves in the war, the authors employ tools from systems analysis and performance research, which they pack with meaningless mathematical formulae. Concepts that demand clarification, such as the war’s aims of both sides, or their ability to achieve victory, are often left dangling in the air and frequently incorrect. In addition, the war diagrams are far from accurate (better ones can be found, for example, on the Fourteenth Brigade website). The book focuses on the 143rd Division. It accurately describes the division’s mobilization and movement to the front, the 162nd Division’s unsuccessful counterattack on October 8, and the march of the 143rd Division (the covering

division) to the south. The book also discusses the failure of the 143rd’s belated October 9 counterattack and its successes against the Egyptian armor attack on October 14. The book naturally concentrates on the canal crossing, with an emphasis on the deputy division commander’s superb efforts in organizing and supporting the concentration of forces and deployment of equipment. The book’s last chapters describe the development of the attack on both banks of the Suez Canal in the final stages of the war. In order to give credit to the brilliant decisions and fighting spirit of their commander, Major General Sharon, the authors downplay everyone else who was active in the General Staff, in the front headquarters, and in the neighboring divisions. Their attempt to bequeath “instruction” and inspiration to the next generation of commanders – an attempt that the present commander of the military colleges supported by having the book published by Ma’arachot (the IDF’s official publishing house) – was mostly done by stressing the negative aspects of the war. With regards to this, Major General Eli Zeira once said, “We have none better than those who made the mistakes. Do not look for guilty parties, look for what to correct” (as per the transcript of a conversation in the IDF Archives, published by Amir Oren in the Hebrew daily “Ha’aretz,” April 12, 2012). The best part of the book seems to be the forward written by Major General Gershon Hacohen, the previous commander of the Military Colleges and a division commander that undoubtedly understands the generalship doctrine. Hacohen explains the special task that a commander must carry out in the interface between the tactical dimension of war and its operational and strategic dimensions. With his professional insight and authoritative leadership, he hovers between his understanding of war as a collection of events and his understanding of its broader perspective. 

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israel defense issue 8  
israel defense issue 8  

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